Forget airplane mode, this is armchair mode: ‘Offline chair’ that blocks access to the internet promises to help smartphone addicts get back to reality

  • Polish furniture designer Agata Nowak, 28, developed the so-called ‘offline chair’
  • The side of the seat has a pocket for devices that blocks WiFi and mobile signals
  • Meanwhile a soft grey covering fabric aims to cultivate a cosy but isolated space
  • Ms Nowak is currently seeking a producer to develop her chair commercially 

An ‘offline chair’ that can block a sitter’s access to the internet has been designed to help smartphone addicts get back to reality and find a moment of relaxation.

The chair is the brainchild of 28-year-old Polish designer Agata Nowak, who hopes interest in the seat will increase as people grow more aware of internet addiction.

Upholstered in a soft, grey covering fabric, the chair provides a ‘cosy, intimate, comfy and silent’ space to isolate its occupants from the surrounding environment.

Its key feature is a so-called ‘offline pocket’, which blocks WiFi and mobile signals from reaching any device placed inside.

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An 'offline chair' that can block a sitter's access to the internet has been designed to help smartphone addicts get back to reality and find a moment of relaxation.

An ‘offline chair’ that can block a sitter’s access to the internet has been designed to help smartphone addicts get back to reality and find a moment of relaxation. 

The chair's key feature is a so-called 'offline pocket', which blocks WiFi and mobile signals form reaching any device placed inside

 The chair’s key feature is a so-called ‘offline pocket’, which blocks WiFi and mobile signals form reaching any device placed inside

‘Studies show that an average user unlocks the phone 110 times per day, and record-breakers even 900!’ said Ms Nowak, who began work on the offline chair in 2015, while studying Furniture Design at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland.

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At this time, the average time that people spend on their phones was estimated at around 2 hours each day. 

Less than five years later, however, and the average use is reported to have increased to around four hours each day — around a quarter of our waking lives.

‘I observed people and their behaviour,’ Ms Nowak told Central European News.

‘Back then, it was likely you would see people stuck on their phones but now it has become ordinary.’

‘We are over-stimulated. We are now turning to activities such as meditation and mindfulness as we need solutions to help us calm down, relax.’

The chair's key feature is a so-called 'offline pocket', which blocks WiFi and mobile signals form reaching any device placed inside

The chair’s key feature is a so-called ‘offline pocket’, which blocks WiFi and mobile signals form reaching any device placed inside

The chair is the brainchild of 28-year-old Polish designer Agata Nowak, pictured, who hopes interest in the seat will increase as people grow more aware of internet addiction

The chair is the brainchild of 28-year-old Polish designer Agata Nowak, pictured, who hopes interest in the seat will increase as people grow more aware of internet addiction

'Studies show that an average user unlocks the phone 110 times per day, and record-breakers even 900!' said Ms Nowak, who began work on the offline chair in 2015, while studying Furniture Design at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland

‘Studies show that an average user unlocks the phone 110 times per day, and record-breakers even 900!’ said Ms Nowak, who began work on the offline chair in 2015, while studying Furniture Design at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland

‘We have apps that help us calm down before sleeping, but I still believe we feel better when we forget about our smartphones for a moment, not hear notifications, and just enjoy it,’ Ms Nowak added.

‘Putting this into practice is much harder though, because we are simply addicted to it.’

Ms Nowak is looking for a producer to help develop her chair commercially.

'I observed people and their behaviour,' Ms Nowak told Central European News. 'Back then, it was likely you would see people stuck on their phones but now it has become ordinary'

‘I observed people and their behaviour,’ Ms Nowak told Central European News. ‘Back then, it was likely you would see people stuck on their phones but now it has become ordinary’

HOW SEVERE IS SMARTPHONE ADDICTION?

With the average age for a child to get their first phone now just 10, young people are becoming more and more reliant on their smartphones.

Worrying research from Korea University suggests that this dependence on the technology could even be affecting some teens’ brains.

The findings reveals that teenagers who are addicted to their smartphones are more likely to suffer from mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.

Other studies have shown people are so dependent on their smartphone that they happily break social etiquette to use them.

Researchers from mobile connectivity firm iPass surveyed more than 1,700 people in the US and Europe about their connectivity habits, preferences and expectations.

The survey revealed some of the most inappropriate situations in which people have felt the need to check their phone – during sex (seven per cent), on the toilet (72 per cent) and even during a funeral (11 per cent).

Nearly two thirds of people said they felt anxious when not connected to the Wi-Fi, with many saying they’d give up a range of items and activities in exchange for a connection.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents said that Wi-Fi was impossible to give up – more than for sex (58 per cent), junk food (42 per cent), smoking (41 per cent), alcohol (33 per cent), or drugs (31 per cent).

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A quarter of respondents even went so far as to say that they’d choose Wi-Fi over a bath or shower, and 19 per cent said they’d choose Wi-Fi over human contact.

 



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