Visitors at select Boston-area parks will soon be able to sit, relax, and charge their mobile devices. Dubbed "Soofas," these solar-powered benches will also disseminate location-based information such as noise, temperature, and air pollution levels through a website, according to Yahoo Tech. The high-tech amenity was first piloted in 2013, and has since been upgraded to include a larger seating area and the ability to plug in two phones simultaneously via USB. In the future, Soofas may feature inductive charging stations similar to those being deployed in Starbucks outlets through out the US.
The first step into smart urban furniture
"Soofa is the first step into smart urban furniture," Changing Environments CEO and Soofa co-inventor Sandra Richter says in a statement. "The possibilities to update the city for the mobile generation are endless and long overdue." The company is a startup spun off from MIT Media Lab, a research laboratory known for unique innovations like shapeshifting furniture and a vest that allows its wearer to feel a book's emotions.
According to Yahoo Tech, each Soofa costs an estimated $3,000 and will come with a 25-year guarantee from Changing Environments. The first wave of Soofas is expected to hit Boston next week.