Solar cells charge cell phones on Boston’s new ‘smart’ benches

Fortune

Benches in several Boston parks are about to get a little fancy.

Through a partnership with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab spinoff, Changing Environments, the city announced Friday that it is set to rollout solar-powered benches in several of its parks that allow you to charge your cell phone. The bench has a USB outlet, but it’s up the visitor to bring his or her own cable to plug in the phone. The benches also collect and share a range of data, including location-based information, as well as air quality and noise-level data.

The high-tech benches named “Soofas” will be deployed in green spaces over the next week including Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Soofa debuted last week at the White House Maker Faire in Washington, D.C., a gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs.

“Your cell phone doesn’t just…

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