With the rise in the popularity of mobile phones, the lowly payphone has been completely pushed aside as being only useful for homeless patrons to privately relieve themselves. Stumbling onto a payphone will probably result in an empty housing where an actual payphone once sat, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking to change that as he’s looking to upgrade the city’s 11,000 payphones.
Bloomberg issued a challenge a few months ago with the Reinvent Payphones Initiative to crowdsource ways to upgrade New York City’s payphones. The results of the challenge have produced five final prototypes that range from a complete reinvention of the traditional phone booth, to a kiosk that can record changes in the environment.
Unfortunately, the prototypes that are being shown won’t replace any of New York City’s payphones, but instead be used in order to inspire what the final decision becomes. Considering any of these five final prototypes would drastically change how people would use payphones in New York City, we can’t fully understand the reasoning behind asking for prototypes, to only turn them down to build their own payphones that are inspired by said prototypes.