NY Phone Booths and Cabs Get Mobile Makeovers with Tablets, Charging Stations

Technology is used many ways to make our daily tasks easier to accomplish.  But the people behind our awesome gadgets aren’t done innovating.  They want technology to be part of our lives, every moment of the day.  Let’s take a look at how technology is or will be incorporated in our lives in the near future.

Smart booths

The city of New York is planning on transforming some 250 old phone booths across the five boroughs within the next month.  The phones will be replaced by  32-inch “smart screens” with Internet connections which will display local neighborhood information, including lists of nearby restaurants, store sales in the area, traffic updates, landmark information and safety alerts — in multiple languages.  The smart screens also allows people to file a complaint or request city information.

If you’re worried that these smart booths would become a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria (actual germs, not device viruses), fear not, City24x7, the franchisee that will install and maintain the smart screens, stated that the smart screens will be cleaned with a jet hose as they are dust and water-proof, and will be cleaner than ATMs.

“The goal is to pilot it and see what the response is,” said Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for the city’s department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “It will help inform the city’s ongoing reassessment, with public input, of what we want or what we think the future of public pay phones will entail.”

Future plans for these smart screens include Skype integration, logging on to e-mail accounts, and serving as WiFi hotspots.  Users will not be able to use these smart screens to troll the web, as the search capabilities are protected and controlled.

The Taxi of Tomorrow

New York’s iconic yellow taxi cabs will be getting a major overhaul after a two-year competitive selection process.  The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission chose the Nissan NV200 to transform the cabs of New York into a tech hub for passengers and cab drivers.

The NV200 features a mobile charging station for passengers, including a 12-volt electrical outlet and two USB ports to cater various smartphones, tablets and other gadgets.  The new age cabs will come with a standard navigation system with an integrated rearview backup monitor.  It offers room for four passengers and their luggage, the exterior of the taxi boasts of sliding doors for easy entry and exit, the interior features a transparent roof panel, opening side windows, and special odor-resistant fabric.

The best part is, passengers now have access to their own rear air conditioning controls, as well as overhead reading lights, and floor lights to make sure belongings aren’t left behind.  The futuristic cabs are expected to hit the streets of New York by late 2013.

“New York City cabs have always been iconic, and now they will set a new standard,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said in a statement. “The 600,000 passengers who use taxis to get around every day deserve the cutting-edge technology and top-of-the-line safety features that this model delivers.”

Chopper spies

Photo: History.com

When a series of pirate movies hit the big screen, people thought that pirates were cool or sexy, but if you’re in the Navy, pirates aren’t anything like Jack Sparrow – they’re dangerous people that you won’t ever want to across.  It’s hard to spot pirates in real life, as they do not go sailing with a jolly roger flying as their banner.  So the US Navy came up with an ingenious device that helps them identify pirates even at a crowded sea.

The US Navy used different sensing technologies called the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker, or MMSS, wherein an unmanned helicopter uses high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and laser-radar (LADAR) to find the pirate boat.  The helicopter is also equipped with sophisticated software that allows these robot helicopters to identify the target independently of the operator.  The software on board compares a 3-D image to templates and schematics in its memory.

Guitar Pee

Brazilian company, Guitar Pee, thought of a new way to make peeing entertaining by creating a urinal that turns the sound of a man emptying his bladder into a shredding guitar solo.  The musical urinal comes with electronic tabs that release pre-recorded tunes when a man’s pee hits them.  To listen to some of the bathroom performances, access guitarpee.com via mobile to listen to the MPee3s.

And if you’re interested as to where you can find this musical urinal and try it for yourself, head to Bar Aurora in Sao Paulo, Brazil.