The old rusty New York subway stations you're so used to will be getting jumbo-sized versions of something else you're used to: touch screens.
Enter Control Group, a technology and design company from Manhattan that has created 47-inch touch screen kiosks to help straphangers get smoothly from one destination to another. Yes, there are apps that already do the whole subway navigation thing, but some apps aren't entirely reliable when you're deep underground, and your signal bars have busted out their best magic trick and disappeared (just try getting service while waiting for the 1-train in Times Square). The technology is still in beta, and one of the kiosks is currently at a subway station in the financial district, but the locations will expand this summer to stations such as Grand Central, Union Square and Jackson Heights in Queens.
The kiosk may look similar to the smartphone in your pocket, but the technology is different. Where a smartphone uses an electrically conductive layer to keep track of your finger, these kiosks actually use vibrations to follow your movement. The screens are extremely durable as well, and Control Group partner Colin O'Donnell said the screens may even withstand an attack from a baseball bat--but don't get any bright ideas.
When you walk up to a kiosk, you'll get a local map with points of interest dotted around. Touch a destination on the map and get the fastest, most up to date route, with current travel times.
Control Group will be working out the kinks for the next several months, but as of now, it's a nice look into what subways will become as technology advances.