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Queens Chronicle

Contest to redesign the city’s pay phones

Deadline to enter is Feb. 18

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:49 am, Thu Feb 21, 2013.

It seems everyone has a cell phone these days. In fact, it’s probably difficult for many people to remember life without one. But it wasn’t that long ago when city residents in public places relied on pay phones to reach out and touch someone. And they may be making a comeback now that the mayor is calling on designers to reinvent the booths with a new contest. The deadline to enter is Feb 18.

The Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge is a competition that calls on participants to create physical and virtual prototypes of their models to be used once the city’s pay phone contracts expire in 2014.

There are still more than 11,000 pay phones on city sidewalks, according to the mayor, down from a high of approximately 35,000 in the late 1990s. A list of all the devices along with their locations and phone numbers are available on the website payphone-project.com.

Those interested in entering the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge should go to nyc.gov to review contest rules, sign up for updates and submit their prototype applications for consideration by the deadline.

After all submissions are received, up to 15 semifinalists will be selected to demonstrate their ideas at the Reinvent Payphones Demo Day on March 5. Quirky, a company that helps new inventors get their products into the mainstream, will host the event at its Chelsea headquarters. Submissions will be judged by the following criteria: connectivity, creativity, visual design, functionality and community impact.

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