Welcome, friends, to tomorrow. Thanks to the Soofa electricity-generating park bench, the tyranny of the non-solar seating is at an end! That old dude sitting across the way isn’t just feeding pigeons; he’s recharging his I-Pacemaker! Put a propeller on his fedora and he can also power his jazzy.
Actually, metric ton of snark aside, it’s a pretty good idea. With solar panels getting cheaper and easier to install, they’re popping up everywhere, and with our insatiable need for electricity to power every aspect of our once unpowered lives, strapping panels to the thing we were going to sit on anyway makes a lot of sense.
Christina B. Farnsworth with Green Builder has more:
The Soofa: my urban hub not only powers our toys but also shares location-based information like air quality and noise levels with its built-in sensors. …
Three women—Jutta Friedrichs, Sandra Richter and Nan Zhao—founded Changing Environments, a MIT Media Lab spin-off, that develops what they call urban furniture. The creators of the smart urban furniture, Soofa, share one vision: “Getting you out of the homes and into a new, smarter and more sustainable city.” After all, most of us live in urban environments.
The first benches have been installed in and around Boston.
So the Soofa smartbench can be festooned with sensors that allow you to check out the local park before you get there. The website mentions ambient noise and air quality, but one could imagine other uses. Looking for a romantic stroll to pop the question? Check the Soofa database first to see if there are hippies playing hacky sack where you two lovebirds met. Terrified of street performers? A human statue warning system is just around the corner!
But perhaps most important is the solar panel itself, which is thoughtfully positioned in the middle of the bench, guaranteeing no one will ever sit awkwardly close to you again.