London’s iconic red phone boxes are being painted green and reborn as mobile charging stations in a scheme that is being rolled out across some of the busiest parts of the city.
Solarbox is the brainchild of two geography students from London School of Economics and the service is free of charge with the funding provided through advertising that plays on a screen inside the box.
"I lived next to a phone box in my second year at uni and walked past it every day. I thought, 'There are 8,000 of these lying unused in London and we must be able to find a use for them,'" explained Harold Craston, one of those responsible for the innovation.
The boxes have a roof-mounted 86cm solar panel that provides the power for the battery inside the box that is capable of charging up to 100 phones per day with a 20 per cent boost to anyone hanging out in the box for 10 minutes.
Craston and fellow founder Kirsty Kenny told the BBC that since it was launched around six people per hour use the booth and that to prevent vandalism or any untoward activities it is locked at night.
"On launch day, my phone ran out of battery and I genuinely had to use the box," added Craston.
The plan is to offer exclusive content on the screen that sits inside the box and the founders have already signed up the likes of Tinder and Uber to provide advertising with 30 per cent of advertising space given up to community projects.
Solarbox plans to have five more boxes rolled out to various locations across London by April 2015 in what is a novel plan from LSE’s Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year.
Image Credit: Flickr (BMiz)