Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Renaissance of the Phone Booth

The red telephone boxes of Britain were an inextricable part of my childhood and youth. Usually, the reality of this design classic fell sadly short of the Platonic ideal...fish & chip wrappers, mauled telephone directories, gum on the windows, dubious stinking trickles in the corners...but I still miss them.

I've seen the original telephone boxes turned into everything from garden art to community libraries but now there's a great idea from Italy as to what could replace them.

The "Smart Booth" - born of a cooperation between Telecom Italia, UbiConnected and Turin Universtity as part of Turin's "Smart City Project" does just about everything except wash the dishes. Partly solar-powered, it offers touch-screen calls, wifi, pollution monitoring, electric-vehicle recharging and services from tourism to shopping info and social networking.

You could call it a Renaissance Phone Booth.

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