The replacement phone designed to “cure” addiction to the smartphone

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Tap. Scroll Swipe. Pinch. Drag. It is not an impossible tongue twister or a list of onomatopoeias; are the English words that are used to designate the movements we make with our fingers every time we use the touch screen of the mobile phone.

How many times a day do we touch that screen? Dozens, hundreds … thousands of times?

Just listen to the sound of a nearby smartphone so that we feel an imperative need to check our cell phone. Others, we do it out of sheer boredom and almost unconsciously.

According to a recent study (2016) of the consultancy Dscout – which evaluated the behavior of more than 100,000 participants for five days – we touched our cell phone an average of 2,617 times a day. And the most addicted (10%) do it up to 5,400 times.

More and more people admit to having an addiction to the device. In fact, there is a word to define the irrational fear of running out of cell phone access: nomophobia.

The Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger says that he himself felt that sensation when he started using his first smartphone, a couple of years ago.

Designs for the “real world”

“It made me nervous or anxious if I did not have my cell phone at hand. Smartphones become a problem when they become practically an extension of your body, “he told BBC Mundo.

It was then that he decided to create a design that he would present (last October) at the Design Week in Vienna, Austria, whose theme this year was “Offline, Design for the (Good Old) Real World” (disconnected design for good times of the real world).

The young man, who completed his studies at the Royal College of Art in London, United Kingdom, says the inspiration came after watching a documentary in which Umberto Eco, who was trying to quit smoking, placed a wooden stick in his mouth as a substitute.

He started by creating a lamp that only lights when the user places his cell phone in a small holder that recognizes it and activates the light.

But later, he created another design that has garnered more attention: a replacement phone.

It is a device the size of an average smartphone that has five different versions and that imitates with small stone beads the different movements that we make with our hands when we use smart devices, such as zooming, sliding the finger on the screen or Drag objects.

“I watched and analyzed the movements that people made on their cell phones to create my design,” he explains. And he emulated them through the accounts.

The result, he says, is a “pleasant sensation” that provides “a small massage” on the fingers and allows to move away the feeling of anxiety.

The weight of the device also mimics that of a conventional cell phone.

The designer says he has received several emails from people who suffer from cell phone addiction, with both positive and negative comments. To some it seems a very good idea and others see it as a waste of time.

Schillinger admits that he did not talk to doctors or psychologists to make his device, although he does not rule out future collaboration.

At the moment, the device is available on request and costs around US $ 200, “although I would like to manufacture something more affordable,” he adds.

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