Print 10 comment(s) - last by mars2k.. on Jul 2 at 6:43 PM

They're rolling out over the next week

Benches won't just be benches in some parts of Boston anymore -- they'll also be outdoor charging stations for consumer electronics.

According to the city of Boston, it plans to install benches called "Soofas," which are solar-powered, outdoor charging stations that also collect information like air quality and noise level data. 

The city of Boston teamed up with MIT Media Lab firm Changing Environments to make the benches, which will be deployed in Boston areas including Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Not only will the Soofas provide extra seating area for citizens and tourists, but they'll also allow two phones to be charged at a time. 

A Soofa [SOURCE: City of Boston]

“Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “We are fortunate to have talented entrepreneurs and makers in Boston thinking creatively about sustainability and the next generation of amenities for our residents.”

The Soofa benches are expected to be rolled out over the next week with testing continuing in areas like Babson College and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

For the Bostonians out there, you can submit ideas for names of the Soofas in each park by July 11 through Twitter to @mysoofa or via the website, If your idea is picked, you'll be invited to visit designers at the MIT Media Lab and see how Soofa came to be. 

Source: City of Boston

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By Motoman on 7/1/2014 1:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that's cost-effective.

Reckon the taxpayers of Boston are thrilled about this. What's the per-bench cost to the city?

RE: ugh
By crimson117 on 7/1/2014 1:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
$3000 per bench, according to:

Maybe it will attract more tech businesses and workers to the city and help pay for itself? Who knows.

RE: ugh
By Schrag4 on 7/1/2014 2:09:33 PM , Rating: 4
I'd say that's the least likely reasoning. It's much more likely that a family member of someone working for the city owns the company making and/or installing these benches.

RE: ugh
By M'n'M on 7/1/2014 3:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
In Boston ... I'm sure the 6 benches are the cheapest way for the new Mayor to show his "greenness".

RE: ugh
By marvdmartian on 7/2/2014 7:40:10 AM , Rating: 2
More likely, it will attract people who will now tie up a bench for an hour, while charging their device, rather than the 5 minutes they would have taken before, just to rest their feet.

RE: ugh
By sigmatau on 7/1/2014 7:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
The homeless can now free up space at Starbucks.

What is this?
By peterrushkin on 7/1/2014 2:33:10 PM , Rating: 5
They took a bench, put a solar paneled box on it and said tada?

OMG, this is junk. I could have designed something much better.

Like this:

It could be used for getting out of the sun (shade) and gasp, even the rain!

In fact, you could have this for bus stops so *gasp* it could even generate electricity for the city!

Oh wait, I'm starting to think common sense. I'd shut up now because the idiots in city hall don't know about that. Only the $$$ which is coming to them from a lobbist!

RE: What is this?
By mars2k on 7/2/2014 6:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeas lets put the solar panel on top so we get shade and protection from the rain and snow. For only a few pennies more that would come with a Tesla!!

By RapidDissent on 7/1/2014 3:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
Great job Boston!

Say, by the way, I know you told me that the check for the Big Dig was in the mail, but I haven't gotten it yet? Can you look into that for me? Thanks friend!

By Homerboy on 7/2/2014 9:52:02 AM , Rating: 2
What a waste.

How long do you think those USB ports are going to last? People are going to break them accidentally or even intentionally. Not to mention the ever-forgiving NE winters will kill the ports.

Or the solar panels? I can only envision a few of them getting smashed/cracker very quickly.

I love the app too. "Oh there's a bench free! And it has fresh air around it!!"

What a stupid waste of money.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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