AMS Spring 2023

Calling All SmartPhone Zombies: Time to Dial it Back with the 3D Printed ‘O’ Phone


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11243803_1000199910013914_8264640608871196197_nDo you need rehab? Seriously, we all get it. There’s so much interesting stuff to look at on your phone, from that perfectly arranged, gourmet meal your brother is cooking himself for dinner at his bachelor pad (dude, who has time to cook all that for one person?), to your friends on vacation in Cabo, posting one pic after another as they get tipsy and tan and splash in the blue water while you work (grrrr). Oh, you were just checking on business emails? Right…okay, sure! But from business to social media to news alerts popping in every hour, that little hunk of metal in your hand may be causing you to miss out on life—and your life may be missing you.

Admittedly, I’ve been one of the worst ever since I got up before sunrise years ago and waited in a dog-eat-dog line, stretching around the block, waiting to get my greedy little hands on an iPhone. While it helped me to organize my life immensely, since then I’ve often also had to establish measures to get away from it—from ‘no screens Sundays’ to actually leaving it home when I go out so that I’m not distracted constantly.

phone2It used to be that our moms yelled at us for putting our elbows on the table, but now they have a much bigger battle to fight—and it would seem that the contemporary place setting on the dinner table involves kicking out the salad forks and making way for your favorite device instead. With a family myself, it sometimes seems as if I am battling a legion of electronics just to get from one part of the daily routine to another, not to mention tracking down and paying for a host of phones, overloads on data plans, and being subjected to one YouTube video after another that apparently I must watch. On a very tiny screen. Since when did this become our lives? What happened to the simple challenges associated with watching too much TV?

Now, with the cleverly named O Phone, you may discover a great way for taking a break. Don’t think of it as punishment, think of it as something akin to eating clean. Streamline your communications, open up the way to productivity—and enjoy some pretty cool perks while you are it. Number one perk? You don’t have to charge constantly. Not only can you say goodbye to enslavement by phone, you can break free from the shackles of those constantly fraying phone chargers as well.

The O phone is 3D printed and ready to send you on your way back into life, app—and memes—free. Designed by Serbian studio Alter Ego Architects, the device is meant to resolve ‘mindless zombie’ syndrome, and in the process, give you a leg up on the rest of the world by eliminating distraction.

“We’re spending on average more than three hours per day – almost one day per week! – looking at our cell phones,” said the studio. “In order to ‘be more productive,’ we’re trying to fit too much stuff in our day, and smartphones ‘help’ us with this.”

“We are actually losing our focus and make our lives complicated,” say the architects.

Alter Ego is still providing you with a nice slim phone to carry around, and don’t worry, life isn’t completely over—you can still text. And although many of us don’t do this much anymore, you can even use the most original function of a phone—and pick up a call here and there. Remember those days? Ring! Ring! ‘Hello?’ That’s back to basics.

The O phone, in its futuristic austerity, allows you to select functions through numbers and symbols. While that might seem arduous at first, remember—the idea is to stop spending so much time on a device. You’ll also be spending less money as this 3D printed phone is so much cheaper to make. The screen operates much like a Kindle, with e-ink, and backlighting is optional (say what? Nothing to light up half the house in the wee hours?) meaning you have the opportunity to yes, just go to sleep already. Not only that, with so little power needed, you won’t be charging it again for days.

o-phone-marko-lazic-alter-ego-architects-_dezeen_1568_8And while this is perfect for those who need an electronics cleanse, Alter Ego is truly targeting those who are just looking for an emergency phone (perfect for keeping your kids in communication or outfitting your non-tech savvy grandmother) or for those traveling.

We all have that one friend who has refused to move into the age of the smartphone. As they’ve staunchly held their ground, you may also note that their off-the-grid, simple communication lifestyle has become more and more cool, as well as yielding extra time—and an awful lot of peace and quiet. Should we join them?

The Alter Ego Studio was founded in 2011 by architect Marko Lazic, and is headquartered in Serbia. A full-service architectural, interior design, and project management firm, they are usually involved in projects varying in size and complexity, at different locations. Their 3D printed O phone is still in the R&D phase and probably won’t be available until next year. And if you aren’t getting ready to purchase one for yourself then, beware—your friends and family may go and do it for you! What are your thoughts on this back to basics phone? Discuss in the 3D Printed O Phone forum over at

[Source: Dezeen]



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