Build a better payphone New York City hosts public design challenge to reinvent public telephones

New York City's SmartScreen payphone refits may be revitalizing a handful of its 11,000 public kiosks, but the information scrubbing touchscreens lack a key communication feature: a telephone. With its existing payphone vender agreements due to expire in 2014, the city sees an opportunity to revitalize its communication infrastructure, and is asking the public to help them build the payphone of tomorrow. There's room for hardware innovation -- the city says most payphone locations can be augmented with fiber connections, opening the potential to expand functionality beyond basic voice calls.

Designers are challenged to propose solutions that enhance local aesthetics, utilize sustainable power sources, combat vandalism, account for emergency scenarios, ensure accessibility to disabled persons and, of course, generate at least as much revenue for the City of New York as contemporary payphones. Entrants have until February 18th to submit their prototypes and designs, and 15 semi-finalists will have to face down a panel of judges in March. Want to get started? Check out the project's home page at the adjacent source link, and dig in -- the city is offering resources on payphone locations, WiFi service metrics and a Collabfinder page to help prospective designers find a team.