NYC’s Next Payphone Could Be Maker-Made

Craft & Design Technology
NYC’s Next Payphone Could Be Maker-Made


The Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge was launched late last year to upgrade and replaces NYC’s still-ubiquitous network of 11,412 public payphones. After sifting through more than 125 entries and several rounds of judging, officials announced the six finalists who are now competing for public votes to decide NYC’s next payphone design and function. Two entries tied for “best community impact,” including “Windchimes,” a maker-made project conceived by ITP students that is more about sensors and environmental data than slick touch-screen interfaces.

Windchimes are environmental sensor stations that talk through payphones. They can plug directly into existing technologies and communication infrastructure, making them low cost and immediately deployable. We imagined New York City’s existing 11,000 payphones as a distributed sensor network providing real-time and hyper-local records of the city’s rain levels, pollution and other environmental conditions.

View all six finalists and vote for your favorite project here. Voting ends on March 15, 2013.

[via HuffPo & TechCrunch]

8 thoughts on “NYC’s Next Payphone Could Be Maker-Made

  1. Nick says:

    Thanks for the support!
    You can also email us at for more info about the project.
    Nick, Team Windchimes

    1. Nick Normal says:

      Hi Nick,
      Your welcome. I wanted to reach out for backstory, but with the contest ending so soon I wanted to get it out there pronto! Good luck.

      1. Nick says:

        Sure. We actually have plans to continue working on this beyond the design competition. We’ll keep you posted.
        Nick, Team Windchimes

  2. David says:

    Is it Hearing Aid Compatible as required by law for all public phones? It appears to be all panel-mount. What comes in close to allow electro-magnetic coupling to a hearing aid’s T-Coil (as in: “Telephone Coil”)?
    How delicate and vulnerable to vandalism are the wind direction and speed parts?

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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