Who you gonna call? New York reinvents the pay phone

Story highlights

  • New York holding contest to reinvent the city's public phone booths
  • Six finalists selected with a winner to be announced on March 15
  • Entries include devices powered by solar panels and others that collect environmental data
  • Other cities around the world have also introduced new pay phone concepts in recent years

The public pay phone is an iconic landmark of some of the world's greatest cities.

London has its unmistakeable red kiosks while the perspex glass boxes with sliding doors -- long favored as a changing room by Superman -- have been a familiar site in urban locations across the U.S. for decades.

With the inexorable rise of cell phones however, the humble pay phone has become less of an important public utility and more an archaic inner-city remnant.

In an attempt to keep the devices relevant in the 21st century, New York City has been soliciting designs for potential phone boxes of the future.

The Reinvent Payphones contest launched in December last year, encouraged design professionals, students and tech lovers to send in their futuristic visions of the phone booth.

Read: Is the pay phone making a comeback?

Six finalists have been selected, including a device powered by solar panels and another which collects important environmental information.

A public vote will select the winner which will be announced on March 15.

The Big Apple isn't the only city figuring out how to make the phone box relevant to the modern citizen.

A host of cool, practical and artistic concepts have been devised, displayed and implemented in cities around the world in recent years.

Check out the finalists of the New York competition alongside a selection of the best from the rest of the world in the gallery above.