This smartphone lock physically prevents you from using your phone while studying or working

Designed to curb your screen addiction, disConnect is an absurdly clever timer-based phone lock that basically goes ‘facehugger’ on your smartphone’s screen, preventing you from using it. While I personally have enough self-restraint to not need such a device, the disConnect is arguably for serious phone addicts, Twitter junkies (you know who you are), and kids who should be studying instead of aimlessly scrolling on TikTok.

Designed originally as an entry into the Braun Prize, Joao Pereira sought to find a more fool-proof, analog way to keep you from using your smartphone. Sure, you could try stuff like having app locks, app timers, or just plain shutting down the WiFi, but there’s really no escaping with the disConnect. It’s designed to physically obstruct your phone’s touchscreen, so sure, you can use it if you want, but all you’re really going to be able to see are the four corners of your display. Handy if you want to check the time or your battery. Useless if you want to try doing anything else (chances are you won’t even be able to unlock your smartphone, since the disConnect will probably block the fingerprint reader or your front-facing camera!

Designer: Joao Pereira

The way disConnect works is pretty elementary. Strap your smartphone in and set a timer, and the disConnect keeps your phone locked in its fabric bands until the timer ends. The disConnect works with more than just one phone too. Stack as many as 4 smartphones together and secure the strap, and you’ve effectively got yourself the perfect dinner party or movie night without you or your friends being bummers and staring at their phones. Want to pre-emptively unlock your smartphone (in case you get an important call or text), simple – enter the unlock PIN and the disConnect comes apart, letting you use your phone normally again!

The post This smartphone lock physically prevents you from using your phone while studying or working first appeared on Yanko Design.

A minimal smartwatch that actually helps you unplug from phone notifications!

Imagine this. You are working at your desk, when in a brief lull of productivity, you wonder, What time is it? You press a button on your phone – just to check the time, you swear – and you notice a few notifications as well: a breaking news headline, a text from a friend, a new follower on Instagram, etc. Almost reflexively, you unlock your phone. Just five minutes, you tell yourself. I’ll skim through these alerts and get back to work. Of course, in my case, I blink, and those five minutes have turned into twenty.

Scenario two: you are out for a relaxing, socially-distant hike. The fresh air and natural sunlight are exactly what you need at this moment – a break from your tech-heavy life. What time is it? You wonder. You click your lock screen – just to check, you swear – but then curiosity takes over. This hiking trail is too quiet – boring, to be honest. You want a brief distraction from this peaceful environment…which is how you end up online.

Our attachment to our phones is a difficult one to break. Even though I can limit my screentime by restricting data usage on certain apps, blocking notifications, or setting my phone to Do Not Disturb, these self-imposed measures don’t always work. They don’t stop me from opening social media or playing Candy Crush.

A few weeks ago, I covered a wifi-router concept that gave users the option to disconnect from the internet. In a similar vein, the TIME OFF! watch gives you the ability to mute your smartphone notifications. How does it work? Well, the process is pretty straight-forward. Similar to many smartwatches and Fitbits, the TIME OFF! has a companion app where you can control all the settings. With the app, you can choose which apps and alarms to mute during your “time off” mode. Once you save those settings, you can, at any point, silence those alerts by pressing the red button on your TIME OFF! watch. You don’t even have to pick up your phone.

My favorite aspect of the watch is its simple design. Yanko has featured plenty of minimalistic concepts, but this one is the most minimal watch that I’ve seen. The watch consists of a solid-colored band and a face with a small LED sliver that displays the time. The screen doesn’t even fill the entire watch surface! I love this design choice because it reinforces the product’s mission: to eliminate distractions. The TIME OFF! wants you to be present in your environment, to forget about your email inbox, the news, and the passage of time.

The product uses a textile strap that is also quite versatile. You can wear the TIME OFF! as a watch – and switch out the band for a more fashionable one – but you can also tie it on your belt loop or a bag strap. It’s a simple idea, but one that also contributes to the product’s mission: to remove all the little things that may tempt you to check your phone. Don’t worry about the time, this watch seems to say. It’ll still be here, on your bag if you need it, but you should enjoy this break from the digital world.

Designer: Rudolph Schelling Webermann



Bosch will use tiny explosions to make EVs safer in a crash

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Block Online Trackers and Get a VPN in One with Disconnect

Hackers, spies, and data collectors are lurking around every corner of the Internet, so it’s important to be vigilant about your online privacy. With Disconnect, you’re getting an online tracker blocker and VPN in one convenient tool. While the motivations behind web tracking can be anything from innocent to nefarious, there are still people out there who are collecting your personal data and keeping tabs on your web activity.

Take your security seriously by investing in a service like Disconnect, which keeps trackers and malware from accessing your device, helps increase your browsing speeds and helping your device use up less bandwidth and battery. Plus, Disconnect also doubles as a VPN, so all your data and activity are proxied and encrypted, meaning they’ll stay hidden from prying eyes.

Make the security of you and your family a priority on the web. Get Disconnect for life – it’s just $49 in the Technabob Shop.

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When Nature Calls (Differently)


I’ve noticed a terrible tendency in me of late. I’m in front of my laptop. I’ve got Facebook open. Just then, my hand reaches for my phone, and I habitually unlock it and open Facebook on my mobile. Literally while Facebook is running on my computer in front of me. When this act of absolute obsession dawned on me, I realized what a sucker for gadgetry I had become. The Disconnect alarm is something people like me need. Periodically, it’ll open up and give you a message telling you to put away that slab of electronics and connect with the material world. Strangely enough, it even comes with an app (kinda goes against what it says, doesn’t it?), that allows you to customize Disconnect’s salient features. Well, as long as it gets me to stop taking quizzes on which Hogwarts House is suited for me based on my Starbucks Order… Sheesh!

Designer: Ben Ingignieri