By Gilbert Falso :: 5:28 AM
The venerable payphone is on its way to the history books in most places these days. Once numbering in the millions across the United States, estimates from the Federal Communications Commission and the communication industry recently put the number of pay telephones left in America between 250,000 and 400,000.
In New York City, the city government has put together a contest to redesign New York’s payphones before the current vendor contract expires in 2014. The goal is to create a public telephone that will make the city more accessible, safer, healthier, greener and better informed, and the contest has been dubbed the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge.
Teams who have entered the contest have to submit information about their prototype design for consideration by February 18. Fifteen semifinalists will be asked to present their ideas at the Reinvent Payphones Demo Day on March 5, where they will compete for three prizes. Then, the top three winners will be featured on the City of New York’s Facebook page, and their ideas will be put forward for a public vote.
Judges will look for the following criteria from design teams:
- Connectivity: The ability to connect New Yorkers and enable communication, including safety and emergency uses
- Creativity: Originality, innovation and quality of the idea
- Visual Design: Visual appearance and user interface experience
- Functionality: Flexibility, versatility, scalability, accessibility and sustainability
- Community Impact: Support of community residents, businesses and cultural institutions
New York city has partnered with several start-ups and educational institutions to work on the contest project. Entrants who have their design ideas chosen to move to the next level will be notified by email by February 22.