A disruptive interruption: Making a phone case that makes you put down your phone

My goal for the final project is to make a phone case that’s so uncomfortable to hold, that it makes your whole experience of using phone horrible, and forces you to put down your phone. The guest lecturer on Monday briefly mentioned about addictive phone use, and I feel like creating something that disrupts the pleasant stimuli that phone creatives would be a fun topic for my final project.

The aesthetics that I’m planning to use in my project would be mainly about minimalism and bio-mimicry. (And maybe kawaii, or looking cute as well.)

Hedgehog is mainly where the inspiration for the shape comes from. I want to mimic its spikes to increase the uncomfortableness during phone use.

Retro-gaming could be another aesthetic that I can apply to the phone case, too. Since I’m considering making the spikes as counters. each time people pull one out to log that they’ve used their phone for once, then there would a LED screen at the phone case increasing the counts in numbers for the phone use. The little counter is shown in the 2nd idea in the graph.

In this picture, I illustrated several ways of how the phone case could be. First one would be like a lego-pieced up phone case, not necessarily made with lego parts. But taking this idea of making small miniature pieces that can be attached to or take off from the phone case, with a possible grid layout. But as I mentioned in the graph as well, though making the phone case itself fun can help distracting people’s normal phone use, but it’s more likely of switching the target of addiction to the phone case instead.

For the second one, this would be a combination of both minimalism and biomimicry. As mentioned previously, my take on the biomimicry for this project would just be mimicking the spikes of the hedgehogs. It’s showing in the picture that the spikes are coming out of the case, that’s being laid uniformly on the surface. It’s also minimalism, because there are no fur imitation, but solely spikes that don’t have colors or special texture being arranged in a pattern.

For the last two at the bottom part of the page, the bottom left one is a more eliminated version of minimalism. It’s taking the extreme of eliminating all the other spikes and leaving only a long one at the center.

For the bottom right one, it’s just my imagination of how the pulled-out spikes can be properly stored in the case, which goes back to the idea of adding the gaming element when keeping track of phone use, on the base of creating this uncomfortable phone experience.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Jamie Frankel
    April 15, 2020 9:45 pm

    Hey Xiang, I think this idea is great. When you talked about vintage gaming I immediately thought about sonic the hedgehog themes. Maybe you could emulate it in colors or make the LED display into a ring! This is awesome that you are trying to put your phone down more. I know I sure need to.

  • Austin Ross
    March 2, 2020 9:45 am

    This is an awesome idea! I too agree that now a days we spend too much time looking at our phone screens rather than the world around us. It consumes us and it is very good at getting and keeping our attention. I like the idea of the phone case but have you thought about possibly developing an app that would just turn the phone screen off or notify the user that they have been looking at the screen for too long?

  • This idea is really awesome, not only is it fun but also useful. I’ve become increasingly aware of how addicted I am to my phone. I find myself absent-mindedly grabbing for it while working. Even when I put it in my bag, my muscle memory tells me to reach for it as if it were on the table like usual because its just so ingrained in my mind! Not only will the discomfort be discouraging, but I think the counter will help put in perspective just how prevalent the addiction can be for some people.

    You mentioned hedgehog spikes and retro gaming, which immediately made me think of Sonic the Hedgehog. Do you think you’ll draw inspiration from that if you decide to go with that design?

  • Benjamin Robles
    February 27, 2020 11:31 am

    Hello Xiang, the title of your post caught my attention, since I also agree with limiting our time with screens. I do believe phones enhance us and can be extremely useful tools, but we must know when to put it down. I think the case idea is really cool, but the spikes seem a little bulky (which I know you are trying to make the case inconvenient and uncomfortable). I think the idea behind it is super cool and we need something like that, but I would love to see you include maybe a sound system that either plays an annoying alarm tone when you pick up your phone or a message that encourages you to put your phone down. Of course, this is my opinion, I hope it helps you as you plan this cool device. Either way, the idea is awesome! Good luck!


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