Seat-e: Solar-powered charging station debuts on Greenway

boston seat-e seat e mit greenway solar
The seat-e in use on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Credit: City of Boston

We’ve all been there: taking a walk through the city and suddenly realizing your phone is one text message away from dying.

Boston officials announced on Tuesday that two prototypes of a solar-powered charging station in the design of a seat have debuted in the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The charging stations, named seat-e, were developed by the MIT Media Lab.

Each seat-e has the ability to charge a smartphone with renewable energy. They also have lights that change color based on the use of the seat.

The solar seats will be located in the Greenway for the remainder of the fall for a study and will be reinstalled in the spring.

Seat-e, viewed as a part of new wave of mobile, urban infrastructure, was designed and built by MIT alumna Ines Gaisset and Media Lab members Sandra Richter and Nan Zhao.

“The city is interested in continuing to explore how technology can be integrated into the streetscape, whether it be a convenient place to charge your phone, a new way to engage with the public or an innovative way to collect environmental data,” said Kris Carter, an adviser to Mayor Thomas Menino. “Seat-e is a small example of how our curbsides are getting smarter and our streets are becoming more complete.”

The city said that future versions of seat-e will include air quality sensors to measure smoke, exhaust and odor, and that the data collected will be available to the public.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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