It seems that every new evolution of our devices these days (or indeed every addition of another strap on screen) demands yet more of our precious attention than its predecessor. There's an absurdity to the modern connected life we've built for ourselves when an email newsletter from [insert boring thing that somehow got your email address] reaching your inbox launches a cacophony of notifications from top to toe.
The rise of the smartphone, and the all too immediate realization that we've leaped headfirst into a connected world from whence we can never return, has seen any number of designs, apps and campaigns to help us readdress the balance between reality and the retina display. In one recent example, WNYC's New Tech City's most recent series has been causing a storm by giving users weekly challenges to step away from their smart screens to hilarious and thought provoking consequences—take for example the crippling difficulty inflicted on groups of high school students subjected to the 'Photo Free Day' challenge.
Enter 'The Light Phone' a new weapon in the arsenal against notification overload that has already raised $300,000 in crowfunding on Kickstarter. The idea is as simple as the design execution. Connecting to your smartphone and promising to be 'your phone away from phone,' Light Phone essentially acts as something of a stepping stone to smartphone disconnection—allowing you to leave the house with just the bare essentials of your mobile device, leaving all the attention stealing notifications behind.
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At first glance, we thought a beautiful IoT miracle had occurred that would allow incoming calls to be seamlessly diverted to a remote accessory—keeping both a distance and closeness to our love 'em/hate 'em glass rectangles. On closer inspection however, it seems Light Phone does require its own SIM (ouch...simple just got messy) but does come with 100 minutes preloaded (yeh...lost you at SIM didn't we?). Still, it does come with more tricks up its sleeve that could make it worth a pledge. An accompanying app will apparently allow you to specify whom you are willing to receive a call from during, say, your quality time with the family—another distraction diverted until a less precious moment.
Sam Dunne is a designer, strategist and writer based in London. Sam is founder of design strategy agency Cohere and Contributing Editor at Core77—reporting broadly on design, technology, food and object culture.