March 6th, 2013

Reinvent Payphones Winner: Windchimes - Best Community Impact




Windchimes are environmental sensor stations that talk through payphones.  They can plug directly into existing technologies and communication infrastructure, making them low cost and immediately deployable. We imagined New York City’s existing 11,000 payphones as a distributed sensor network providing real-time and hyper-local records of the city’s rain levels, pollution and other environmental conditions.

Our design takes into consideration the growing availability of cheap, simple sensors and interest in big data. Each payphone’s sensor kit will be customizable so that it can serve the specific needs of the city and the communities within each neighborhood.

Windchimes is real and functional. It could be deployed today. Simply plug Windchimes into a telephone jack and watch as it instantly collects data and sends it to a database on the Internet.

Imagine Windchimes data helping you:
- Plan your bike commute so that the wind is always at your back.
- Tend to your urban farm using micro-climate data.
- Care for your asthmatic child with air-quality metrics.

We created Windchimes because we wanted to empower the city with data that it’s never captured before. Scientists, city officials, urban farmers, techies, educators, and parents could all benefit from the data collected. We want to make this data open and accessible to everyone and to enable unprecedented access and tools to our city’s natural environment. Environmental and governmental organizations could all benefit. The data could be used to impact future environmental legislations and help us work towards building a more sustainable city.

Thanks and please vote for us!


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