Internet Culture

Cure your smartphone addiction with 'Substitute Phones'

A designer sees his art piece -- plastic blocks embedded with stone beads -- as one answer to phone obsession.

These "phones" won't notify you of anything.
Leonhard Hilzensauer

If you suffer from separation anxiety when you're away from your phone, then you might find comfort in "Substitute Phones," an art piece by Austria-based designer Klemens Schillinger. Think nicotine gum for smartphone addicts. 

Schillinger designed "Substitute Phones" for a now-concluded fall exhibition in Vienna called "#Offline – Design for the (Good Old) Real World," which confronts our internet obsession and whether it's desirable to disconnect from technology. 

"Substitute Phones" have a bit in common with fidget spinners and other gadgets meant to keep flailing fingers occupied. The unconnected devices are made from heavy plastic to replicate the feel of a real phone, but have no screens and no electronics. 

Each "Substitute Phone" is embedded with a series of round marble-like stones that move when you run your finger over them. The swiping motions are familiar, but there are no notifications, messages or calls to draw your attention away from real life.

Schillinger told Dezeen last week that he created the faux phones with the idea of helping people stop themselves from compulsively checking their smartphones. 

"This calming limitation offers help for smartphone addicts to cope with withdrawal symptoms. The object as a therapeutic approach," Schillinger writes on his website.

For now, his phones aren't for sale. But keep checking online to see if that changes. Just kidding.