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.

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