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A few months back NYC launched a Reinvent Payphones Challenge for ideas on how to upgrade and/or replace the existing 11,000+ payphones around the city. Among the six finalists is Windchimes a distributed sensor network providing real-time and hyper-local records of the city’s rain levels, pollution and other environmental conditions. Created by a group of students and recent grads from Parsons, NYU-ITP and Cooper Union, the goal behind Windchimes is to empower the city with data which has never been readily available before. Scientists, city officials, urban farmers, techies, educators and the general public would have open access to the information enabling and impacting future environmental legislation, helping us work towards building a more sustainable city.
Why are we voting for Windchimes, besides the fact that we know one of the students on the team? Well, Windchimes is the only project with an actual functioning prototype, proving that it works and that the engineering has been tested and worked out. Windchimes could be deployed today; simply plug it into a telephone jack and watch as it instantly collects data and sends it to a database on the Internet. Windchimes is cost-effective with an estimated cost of $100 to $200 per unit and uses the existing payphone structures throughout the city, plus being energy-efficient as well.
Take a look at all the projects here (you may have to ‘like’ the group to view and vote) and vote for your favorite, though we hope you’ll consider Windchimes!
Oh, and here’s a video: