The Economic Times
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| 24 September, 2020, 06:21 AM IST | E-Paper

A device to check device addiction


Finding a cure for a ‘phoney’ addiction that is proving only too uncomfortably real.

Compulsive ‘networking’, largely through the use of mobile phones, is becoming a clinical addiction.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave,/ When first we practice to deceive,” lamented the poet. However, today, more and more people are reportedly getting tangled in a web — the World Wide Web, a.k.a. the net — which involves a different type of ‘phoniness’, which has to do with mobiles and not mendacity. Compulsive ‘networking’, largely through the use of mobile phones, is becoming a clinical addiction, and fear of being cut off from cellular connectivity has been given the tag of ‘nomophobia’, nominated as 2018’s ‘word of the year’ by the Cambridge Dictionary.

Now, however, help might be at hand in the form of a device, worn like a wristband, which informs users when they have spent too long on the phone. Devised by a group of students at the University of Indonesia, the gadget — called Nettox, for ‘net detox’ — contains a pulse sensor that measures blood oxygen levels and heart rate variability (HRV) and emits a warning sound when these fall below prescribed limits. Prolonged net flicking lowers these parameters that, according to the American Psychological Association, should ideally remain above 60 in people aged between 18 and 25. The Indonesian students’ team is reportedly fine-tuning Nettox. If it helps those rendered immobile by their mobiles regain momentum, the invention deserves to make a net profit.

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