We have become lost in the screens of our smart devices

Adapting to a world in which we are addicted to our screens.

Sebastian Miura
Aug 7 · 2 min read
Mobile phone lane for pedestrians in Chongqing, China.

We use our phones everyday. We use them when we want to send a message to our friends, when we search for a good restaurant nearby, or when we want to play that favorite song we like.

But over the last decade, the frequency at which we are looking at our phones has increased greatly for millions. In the UK, people are checking their phone every 12 minutes, and in the US, 60% of college students consider themselves to have a smartphone addiction.

We are living in the most connected time in human history and our screens are a foundation for how we interact with information. But our attention to the screen comes with a cost. It makes us lose focus, feel more isolated and leads to a great deal of accidents on the road.

In order to prevent this, Chinese authorities have created a dedicated cellphone lane for people who look at their phones while walking. Some people call these zombie walkways.

Traffic lights in the pavement. Augsburg, Germany.

In the German town of Augsburg, the station has fitted red and green lights in the ground to warn people who stubbornly look at their smartphones while walking. The Netherlands, Australia, and Singapore have followed with similar solutions.

Is this the future we want for ourselves?

Fortunately, the big tech companies don’t think so. They’re investing heavily in screenless interactions and exploring new opportunities. We are not addicted to screens, but the information that flows through them.

For my upcoming master thesis at Umeå Institute of Design, I will look into how we can direct some of our screen-based information into meaningful heads-up experiences.

In doing so, I hope to learn more about a possible future where we can interact with information in increasingly varied ways. This will be done in collaboration with Logitech.

Sebastian Miura

Interaction designer and master student at Umeå Institute of Design. www.linkedin.com/in/hellosebbi

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