As the Internet of Things grows larger, we can now add benches to the list of things like watches, cars, phones, and everything else that comes in a “smart” variety.
Solar-powered benches, called Soofas, will pop up in Boston parks over the next week, the Boston Globe reports. In addition to offering you a place to sit, the benches will feature plugs to charge your smartphone, and will also wirelessly connect to the internet to provide location-based information, like air quality data.
“Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement Friday, the Globe reports. “Why should our benches just be seats?”
The Soofa was built and designed by three female engineers working with the MIT Media Lab spinoff startup Changing Environments, according to Yahoo Tech.
“We want to make cities updated for our generation,” Sandra Richter, one of the three inventors of the Soofa, told Yahoo Tech. “One trait we have is we run around with our phones all the time, and they die every five minutes. So for us it’s really important to be charged up all the time and be connected to each other.”
Though you could have spotted a prototype or two around Boston this past winter, a dozen smart benches are set to pop up throughout the city, covered by Cisco Systems at no cost to the city, the Globe says. And while the first wave will only occur in the Soofa’s hometown, Changing Environments has plans for future installments in San Jose, California, and New York too, Yahoo Tech says.