Reinventing the phone box

Updated 1:42 PM ET, Fri March 8, 2013
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One of six finalists in New York's Reinvent Payphones contest, the "NYC I/O" phone booth aims to provide an open, urban-scale computing platform which provides access to real time data on important local information and civic events. NYC Mayor's Office/Control Group and Titan
"Windchimes" was designed by a collective of students and graduates from colleges in the New York area. The minimalist device comes equipped with environmental sensors which aim to collect important eco-information on the likes of rainfall and pollution levels in the city. NYC Mayors Office/NYU-ITP/COOPER/PARSONS
The "Beacon" pay phone is a 12-foot-tall voice and gesture controlled kiosk that acts as a public information display system in times of emergency as well as a public phone. NYC Mayor's Office/Frog Design
The "NYfi" phone box was designed by Sage and Coombe Architects and aims to serve as a hub for free wireless internet access as well as an interactive portal for public information, goods, and services. NYC Mayors Office/Sage and Coombe Achitects
The "NYC Loop" offers a hi-tech private space for users to make video calls while an "information puddle" projected onto the sidewalk can be used to display advertisements or interactive artworks. NYC Mayor's Office/FX Fowle
The sleek looking "Smart Sidewalks" phone booth is powered by a solar panel and enables users to view local maps and information on a futuristic touch-screen. NYC Mayor's Office
Other cities around the world have already introduced hi-tech phone booths to their busy streets and thoroughfares. In this picture, a woman makes a phone call at a pay phone equipped with a touchscreen and Internet connection on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France. Boris Hovart/AFP/GETTY IMAGES/FILE
It's not all about the ultramodern. Some phone booths have been redesigned to take on all manner of cool and interesting artistic concepts, like this kiosk that doubles up as a customized aquarium in Lisbon, Portugal. PATRICIA DE MELO/afp/getty images/file
Another artistic statement. People take photographs of decorated replica telephone boxes on display in Trafalgar Square in central London. LEON NEAL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
A Hong Kong phone box was commandeered by Greenpeace in 2011 to encourage passers-by to call their government and ask them to ban nuclear weapons. Mike Clarke/AFP/GETTY IMAGES/FILE