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This Designer Really Wants You To Kick Your Smartphone Addiction

Are you trying to overcome a serious smartphone addiction? The Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger may have the device to help you shake the habit—if it goes on sale, that is.

Schillinger has created a series of five “substitute phones” that contain rows of stone beads. The rolling beads let you perform the actions you’re familiar with on your phone—swiping, scrolling, zooming—without, you know, actually using a phone.

The Viennese designer told Dezeen that he was inspired by a documentary that showed writer Umberto Eco trying to overcome his nicotine addiction by putting a stick in his mouth, as a benign replacement for his pipe.

“I remembered this and thought to make phones that would provide the physical stimulation but not the connectivity,” Schillinger said. “More and more often one feels the urge to check their phone, even if you are not expecting a specific message or call. These observations inspired the idea of making a tool that would help stop this ‘checking’ behavior.”

Schillinger’s website says a store is coming soon, so perhaps these anti-addiction aids will go on sale at some point.

Klemens Schillinger's "Substitute Phone" in action
Klemens Schillinger’s “Substitute Phone” in action
Leonhard Hilzensauer

He has also designed an “offline lamp” that will only turn on once the user puts their smartphone into a drawer in its pedestal. The drawer recognizes the weight of standard smartphones, triggering the light switch.

The lamp and the substitute phones were shown a couple months back in a Vienna Design Week exhibition called (you guessed it) “#Offline—Design for the (Good Old) Real World.”