Tech blog The Verge has a good piece up this morning about finalist entries in a competition intended to reinvent payphones in New York City.
It’s an initiative, reports the blog, that invites students, urban planners, and designers to propose their visions for the payphone of the future. The finalists were selected as winners in six different categories, and are now in the running for the Popular Choice Award, to be determined later this month.
Not surprisingly, interactive and digital features play a major role in most of the six designs, including NYC/IO, winner of the Community Impact category (video above). Created by Control Group and Titan, the proposal calls for the city’s phone booths to be replaced with high-tech kiosks, replete with transparent screens that pedestrians could use to not only make calls, but find restaurants, pay parking tickets, or surf the web.
The nit-picky little problem with this entry is that if this high-brightness, transparent, curved technology even exists yet outside labs, it would be crazily expensive and not likely do very well on the busy sidewalks of New York City. It is a much, much, much safer place than it was a generation ago, but weather conditions alone would be harsh on this delicate design.
That stated, I like a lot of the functionality and design elements, and much of the overall thinking that went into it. It just doesn’t look practical. There is already a test underway in NYC with a MUCH more rugged design, through a company called City 24×7.
Many of the other designs also incorporate digital in interesting ways.