The Light Phone: Illuminating Tech

A few weekends ago, I nearly had to pry a smartphone from the swiping fingers of a friend. We were in a bar, once thought to be a merry social environment, and he was transfixed by the addictive glow of Tinder, unable to extricate himself. I remember thinking what I generally do in this apocalyptic wasteland we call modern culture: social media and communications technology has lobotomized and roboticized us all.

But there’s a light at the end of this endlessly distracting tunnel. Namely, the innovative new Light phone by design/development team Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang.

The Light phone is a gorgeously simple product, with only one feature, the ability to make and receive calls. It’s the size of a credit card, is very streamlined, and has the battery life of 35 iPhones (20 days). Light syncs up with your primary phone via an app, so only calls are forwarded, leaving tweets, blog posts, emails, Facebook updates, and more tweets at home. It’s also an autonomous device, working as an unlocked mobile.

Innovation has circled back around to give people back their temporal and corporeal presence.

Design-wise this product is amazingly useful; it’s a near invisible little gadget that connects you to people without any fuss. Numbers and a clock; what more could someone ask for? As the designers suggest, it’s also a great resource for kids looking for a first phone. I for one never want to see a toddler try to scroll through a paper magazine again (that’s another story).

Presently, most people are hooked to their smart devices, unable to extract their consciousnesses from a moveable internet. This device is an inventive wakeup call. Imagine not worrying constantly about notifications, and only communicating when there’s real purpose behind the call. There’s even the nostalgia element for anyone who still remembers what it was like when a phone was a phone.

In terms of social behavior, this phone solves the problem of everyone hanging out together with their faces glued to tiny screens. Smart technology saps our confidence and ability to just chat with another human without the technological safety net.

Hollier and Tang opened a Kickstarter on May 13th – ending June 27th – so there’s still time to invest in one of the few pieces of technology out there that’s most useful out of sight and out of mind. A pledge of $100 gets you your very own Light phone. I know I’m stepping into the Light, if only to remember life before hashtags haunted our waking dreams.

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