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Envelope

January 2020 | By Special Projects, a design and invention consultancy

A set of envelopes which temporarily transform your phone into a simpler, calmer device, helping you to take a break away from your digital world.

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Many people feel that they spend too much time on their phones and struggle to find a balance with technology. Special Projects - a design and invention consultancy in London - have designed a series of special paper envelopes which completely transform the functionality of your smartphone for the time it is sealed inside, allowing you to enjoy fewer distractions for a little while. One envelope turns your phone into a very basic device which can only make and receive calls, while the other turns your phone into a photo and video camera with no screen, helping you to focus on what’s in front of you. Printed buttons which subtly light up allow you to dial and take photographs, creating a calm but magical “Envelope User Interface”. Special Projects were inspired by a recent trend where people purchase a second, simpler phone for holidays and weekends, as a way of limiting their access to technology. They wanted to create a more accessible version of this, which would enable people to try a day without a phone without committing to purchasing a new device. You can download this pdf and print it out to make your own envelope right now. Currently, the experiment only supports the Google Pixel 3a. You can download the app on the Play Store, and all the code is available on Github.
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