In order to get away from smartphone addiction, society is in need of something with less apps, less features, and frankly, less of a strangle hold on your life. Based on the headline, you’re all probably thinking that someone has developed a dumbed down cell phone, or you know, a cell phone from 2002. Nope. Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger has developed a “Substitute Phone” to help smartphone users curb their addiction to the device. In a sense, the method is supposed to be similar to nicotine gum for cigarette smokers. Let’s examine.

What Is It?

A “Substitute Phone” is essentially a rectangular block made from heavy plastic and embedded with a series of round marble stones. The device does not include any screens or electronics at all. Instead, the round stones are lined in such a way to imitate the motions of swiping and scrolling. When you slide your fingers across the stones, they rotate and allow your finger to glide. To be honest, if “Substitute Phones” start to catch on, then I’m willing to say that Schillinger is a genius. This is the most simplistic idea ever to be introduced to the technology industry. Aren’t fidget spinners supposed to keep our hands occupied without having to use a smartphone? Was that too complicated for people to catch on?

How It Works

As mentioned above, the device is used to imitate the daily motions of using a smartphone. Schillinger told Dezeen last week that the phones were created with the idea of helping individuals from checking their smartphones compulsively. He compared the addiction to that of smoking, citing that his inspiration came from writer and philosopher Umberto Eco, who exchanged his pipe for a wooden stick in an effort to quit. “It was the same thing, but without the nicotine, just the physical stimulation,” he told Dezeen. “I remembered this and thought to make phones that would provide the physical stimulation but not the connectivity.” He literally said the phrase “tried giving up smoking” when describing Eco’s practice of replacing his pipe. So, it didn’t even work, and it was enough to inspire this toy phone. Interesting. Call me crazy, but I do not see this being the hot seller of 2018.