Reinventing Public Phones

Following the gradual decline of public telephones eclipsed by mobile devices. New York decided to create a contest called Reinvent Payphones to generate ideas on what should be done with the 11,412 connections that exist throughout the city. An efficient way to draw attention to the technology industry while involving local designers.

From the 12 teams of architects, programmers, and other disciplines, who became finalists, the jury chose five finalists in 5 categories.

Conectivity: NYFi

It has two interfaces that are activated with a simple touch. Two models are proposed NYF: A model of three meters for commercial areas, that shows interactive ads and a smaller one for residential and historic areas, showing sites of interest. Its slim design minimize the obstruction of sidewalks.

Thanks to an open software platform, the NYFi takes advantage of the applications that have already been created for phones and tablets. The combination of modular hardware and flexible software has the ability to replace the jumble of single-use devices that populate the city, ticket machines and bus stops, billboards, maps, aid stations, bicycle rental stalls and of course, public telephones. Thus, these stations can be modified and updated over time to fit changing needs of cities.

Creativity: NYC Loop

Combines an attractive contemporary payphone with a unique piece of urban furniture that can be adapted to different types of users. The unit could project announcements that would be embedded in the sidewalk on the one hand, and create a small seat on the other.

Standing inside would give access to a touch screen. Also on the edges would have socket where pedestrians could charge their devices. Piezoelectric pressure plates convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy to supply the Loop.

Visual Design: NYC Beacon

Unlike other designs, the Beacon is not touch. Communication is performed with voice, gestures, facial expressions and eye movement by a 3-D integrated sensor called Capri, which senses movement, while a set of microphones and speakers cushion car horns and other sounds around. Also it would have 3 physical buttons for fire, police and taxi.

The column is 4 RGB LED screens made of steel and concrete. In the top edges solar panels are located recharging an internal battery. This would serve to provide service during a power outage or emergency situations, such as during Hurricane “Sandy” in 2012.

The top two screens serve as support for advertising. While the lower are those that interact with pedestrians. Among its features would be call a cab or ask for information about a restaurant.

Social Impact: NYC I/O

Platform that aims to create an open access real-time information that can distribute messages of individuals, in addition to advertisements. this information would be accessible via the Internet and will be public available. Thus, the platform could be constantly updated through the contribution of the community.

The unit would consist in a surrounding curved screen that displays information both on the outside as on the inside, the latter being completely touch. The top would contain an array of sensors that would detect the user’s movements perfectly.

Functionality: Smart Sidewalks

Put everything in the smallest space possible. That is the objective of this proposal, an interactive band 15 cm wide. The design has two basic components: The first is embedded in the ground and combines a sensor and a strip of LEDs, while the second stands upright and functions as touch screen, Wi-Fi point, power supply and charging station among other functions.

The shape of the folds is determined by the accessibility, viewing angle and optimum solar exposure. The interface is focused on the front and includes camera and microphone. The screen scrolls vertically to suit the user’s height. On the side there is a credit card reader and charger. In addition, Android software platform allows the use of existing applications.


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