For some people, it doesn’t matter whether they’re at dinner or enjoying a romantic night in, they just can’t keep their eyes off their smartphone. But a new gadget called Distractagone, invented by a team in Amsterdam, puts smartphones out of reach of addicts.
The digital isolation box, which can hold up to four phones at a time, locks — for up to 24 hours — via a time code. And once the box is secured, the only way to open it is to wait for the timer to expire. Ingmar Larsen and Tim Menko, creators of the DistractaGone, explain how the device allows people to focus on the important things in life, such as human interaction.
Why did you decide to create the DistractaGone?
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It’s clear that our phones progressively play a more significant role in our lives. We lose focus on what’s important and many people need to change the way they interact with their smartphone.
How can DistractaGone stop people staring at their smartphone screens?
The DistractaGone can help you force yourself to have social conversations instead of wasting time on apps like Snapchat. We want people to look at themselves in a critical manner. If you put your phone in the box, you lose touch with it for a certain time and every time you have the urge to look on your phone you can't. It raises the question: “Do I really need to look at my phone right now?”
How does DistractaGone work?
You place the phone in the DistractaGone and set the timer. Then you press the lock button and enjoy a period without constant distraction. The DistractaGone offers you five seconds to make up your mind, but if you don’t cancel you will not be able to get to your phone.
So is there nothing you can do to get to your phone?
We will offer customers the option to order a mini crowbar. Although we can’t be held responsible for any damages.
How did you set about creating the DistractaGone?
After we came up with the idea, we went looking for a partner. Maarten Langebroek was the perfect choice. He created a 3D prototype and made a perfect model which worked and showcased the idea in a brilliant way. People immediately thought this was going to be the final product, but it was just a prototype.
What kind of person needs a security box for their phone?
People that are addicted to their phones, which can basically be anyone. Think of drivers who want to be safe on the road, friends who want to enjoy a dinner, lovers trying to enjoy a movie night, families at breakfast, teenagers doing their homework or business people who need to focus on their meetings.