Unhooked Cases

Phone cases that get you off your phone without disconnecting.

  Brief  Capstone Project at Parsons School of Design /  Duration  3 months

Brief Capstone Project at Parsons School of Design / Duration 3 months

The Phantom Limb

We live in an era of smartphones and stupid people. While we enjoy the many benefits of this magical device, we are being fatigued by its constant demand of our attention disguised as an answer to our insatiable need for distraction and connection. 

This project is a critical response to this modern condition, built upon a foundation of user-testing to explore lighthearted, everyday physical interactions that could counteract the effects of our problematic smartphone use. 


get on the case 

And off the screen.

Many existing solutions often entail varying periods of enforced disconnection from the phone, which are effective for the abstinence period and perhaps shortly after. But the modern connected life makes it hard to change a hard-wired habit, and it takes up precious daily supply of self-control to tell ourselves not to use the phone, every single time. We need something more encouraging and persistent, outside of the screen, and within reach. It also has to be something we will willingly trade for those short bursts of satisfaction after each swipe of the finger. 



Building a New Meaning

Unhooked cases is a new signifier to users themselves and the people that matter to them - that they are mentally present and in control. Throughout the project, users and experts in- and outside of the product design field were sought out. Based on feedback from the numerous rounds of testing and interviews, concepts were sharpened or dropped, details added and refined. 

Social media takes the guess work out of loneliness but not necessarily the sting... Hence we find a dialectical tension between isolation and connection, nestled within the larger one, powered by the torque between distraction and attention.
— Dominic Pettman

Tactile Engagement

The disposable nature of phone cases in the market, and increasingly the phone itself is another issue that this project begins to address. The choice of materials are associative with other objects of higher permanence and emotional attachment.  

The Jottery

Make a note, or doodle, or doodle a note, or note a doodle. Writing and sketching are scientifically proven to help with the thinking process. Designers and makers will understand this first-hand, but anyone can benefit from the lack of distraction by icons and notifications while trying to make a to-do list. 



Now you can finally say icicic with confidence! See the world differently with real filters and real eyes. Virtual is so passé, and virtual reality can be tragic. This novelty case targets the vintage lover who wants to inject a little magic into their daily life. 


Ting-ting-ting! is the new ukelele. Based on African instrument Kalimba, or Mbira, or some say Sanza, this little number makes amazing sound even for someone who have no background in music. Recent studies have shown that intelligence is not fixed and can be improved well into adulthood. Playing an instrument is one of the best ways better our brains. What better way to make use of the train ride and charm some exhausted fellow commuters.