Futel: the future of the past of telephony*
Futel is more than a collection of payphones installed in publicly accessible locations. Find out what we hope to achieve by starting a free telephone network.
At first glance, Futel is nothing more than a collection of payphones installed in publicly accessible locations, no different than the phones found on every street corner. Except one doesn’t have to pay to use them. And if the caller doesn’t have a human to interact with, one will be provided. And there aren’t any payphones around anymore, anyway.
Find out what we hope to achieve by starting a free telephone network. We will discuss our spiritual ancestors in the phone phreak and mail artist community, as well as our philosophical background in creating useful and nonuseful devices out of discarded junk, and the importance of retaining skills with obsolete interactive technology.
While we’ll probably talk a little about how we’re implementing our systems, the interesting part is the human network involved and the public interactions we are attempting to facilitate, among other motivations.
I've given technical presentations to user groups and to captive audiences at work, and I've given talks on building mechanical devices out of trash and immersive retro video games to both artistic and engineering audiences.
Karl Anderson is a software engineer and creator of useful and not-so-useful mechanical and electronic interactive devices. With C.H.U.N.K. 666, he has created amphibious human-powered vehicles out of trash. With the Church of Robotron, he has built a post-apocalyptic training facility, indoctrination center, and reading room based on the tenets of a coin-operated video game.