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

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 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.


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