Changing Environments co-founder Sandra Richter and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh try out one of the new Soofa solar-powered benches taking root in Boston parks. Credit: City of Boston
A new type of bench is taking root in Boston parks giving people the chance to recharge their legs and their phones.
Soofa, as the bench is called, is a solar-powered outdoor charging station from the MIT Media Lab spin-off firm Changing Environments. The benches are being located in various parks and green spaces in Boston over the next week including Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the city recently announced.
Besides having the ability to recharge two phones, the benches also provide location-based information like air quality and noise level data.
"Soofa is the first step into smart urban furniture. The possibilities to update the city for the mobile generation are endless and long overdue," Changing Environments co-founder Sandra Richter said in a statement.
The city is asking the public for help in locating an additional Soofa bench somewhere in the city. Residents can go online and recommend a location at bit.ly/bosbench or tweet the location to @newurbanmechs by July 11.
Benches are also located at MIT and Babson College.
Soofa joins a growing collection of solar-powered seats in Boston. Seat-e, a solar-powered seat also developed by the MIT Media Lab, debuted on the Greenway last year.