The "substitute phone" mimics the use of a real phone by placing rollable beads where users would ordinarily scroll through their social media newsfeeds.

Smartphone addiction is plaguing the country. And with some studies showing that the overuse of smartphones is changing the chemical balances of our brains, a solution is desperately needed for many individuals.

For some, the addiction is a case of “nomophobia,” a fear of being left without a mobile device in your immediate arm’s reach (nomophobia is actually an abbreviated shorthand for “no mobile phone phobia). If that’s the case, then a new invention may be the cure.

Klemens Schillinger, a furniture and product designer based out of Vienna, Austria, has come up with a handheld “device” he’s calling a “substitute phone.” Not really a phone at all, these substitute phones are shaped like a smartphone with a small row of beads in the middle of them that roll upon the touch. They allow users to continue acting like they’re using a smartphone device without actually having any screen time at all.

“The shape of the Substitute Phone replicates an average smartphone, however, its functions are reduced to the movements we make hundreds of times on a daily basis,” Schillinger writes on his website.

Schillinger says he got the idea after watching a documentary about an Italian philosopher who quit smoking, PSFK reports. After quitting cold turkey, the philosopher would put a stick up to his mouth, mimicking a pipe, so that he could still carry out his reflexive habits.

This isn’t the only project that Schillinger has produced that hopes to help those struggling with smartphone addiction. He’s also created a lamp that will only function when you put your device away.

Not everyone has a smartphone addiction, of course, and the idea that a substitute phone might be needed may seem silly to some.

But for others who truly struggle with having polite conversation without pulling out their devices every 10 seconds, the substitute phone and other devices like it could be a huge blessing. 

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