Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has announced the city will be deploying solar-powered benches in some area parks through a partnership with the MIT Media Lab spin-off Changing Environments.
A ‘Soofa,’ as the bench is termed, is a solar-powered outdoor charging station that also collects and shares location-based information like air quality and noise level data. Walsh says the Soofa will provide more seating space and be able to charge two cell phones at a time. This builds on the functionality of the first solar-powered seat by Changing Environments, which was piloted in Boston in 2013 in a partnership between the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, the MIT Media Lab, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
"Your cell phone doesn't just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?," says Mayor Walsh." We are fortunate to have talented entrepreneurs and makers in Boston thinking creatively about sustainability and the next generation of amenities for our residents."
The high-tech benches will be deployed in green spaces in Boston, including in Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Soofas are also being piloted at Babson College and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.