Late last year, the city of New York launched the Reinvent Payphones contest to solicit design ideas for the next generation of public phones. Hundreds of tech-inspired design concepts were submitted, and now the city has picked six finalists, each of which offers an inspiring look at possible future of the city's payphones.
Some of the finalist designs include the NYFi, a payphone that also functions as an interactive kiosk for public information. The NYC Loop concept features a Wi-Fi hotspot, a bike parking component, has a touchscreen phone and maps, works as a photo booth, and offers a charging station for electric cars. Perhaps the most innovative yet realistic idea is the NYC Beacon, a voice and gesture-controlled kiosk conceived by Frog Design. Standing 12-feet tall, the payphone would also function as an emergency alert station and would operate using solar charging panels.
Commenting on the reasoning behind the contest, the city's Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Rahul N. Merchant, said:
By collaborating with the City's vibrant technology community to develop creative and forward-thinking ideas, this infrastructure could become one of our most important technological assets, helping define the 21st Century streetscape in cities around the world.
The city is opening up the selection of the top winning design to a public vote until March 15 here, you can see all six finalist designs here, and you can check out the beautifully produced concept video of the NYC Beacon payphone below.