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Is this “substitute phone” the next fidget spinner?


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Photo: Klemens Schillinger

Admit it: Sometimes you touch your phone for literally no reason. (Don’t worry, you’re not alone—the average person touches their phone 5,400 times a day—seriously.) What would it take for you to head to work for the day and willingly leave your phone on your dresser? Or for it to reach 3 percent and not freak you out? One product designer thinks he has the answer: a phone-shaped fidget device.

Dubbed “the substitute phone,” this new weighted plastic block has the same feel of a phone—but with none of the features. Really all it has is a row of little beads that move as you swipe left or right, up or down. There’s no purpose to stroking the beads other than that it feels good—similar to how often when you reach for your phone and press the home screen button, there’s no point to that either. (Chances are, you’re already getting text and email alerts that are almost impossible to ignore.)

According to Mashable, the substitute phone was designed by Australian Klemens Schillnger and they aren’t for sale yet, but it looks like they will be soon. Will they reach the anxiousness-busting popularity of fidget spinners? Maybe—but sometimes there’s just so substitute for the real (Instagrammable) thing.

If you really, really want to learn to live a more phone-free life, here are some tips. Or, try a phone-free vacation.

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