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Solar-Powered Benches Coming to Parks throughout Boston

Residents are asked to suggest a spot for the new "Soofa" benches and to submit names for three others.

Credit: City of Boston
Credit: City of Boston

Several benches in parks throughout Boston will soon have the ability to provide local information while charging cell phones through solar-powered technology. 

Through a partnership with the MIT Media Lab spin-off firm Changing Environments, officials plan to disperse the benches, known as a "Soofas," throughout the week at at Boston Common, the Rose Kennedy Greenway and Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, according to a recent announcement by city officials. 

The Soofa bench serves as a solar-powered outdoor charging station that also collects and shares location-based information, such as air quality and noise level, while providing more seating space and the ability to charge two phones at once through the use of solar-power by Changing Environments. 

"Your cell phone doesn't just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?" asked Boston Mayor Martin Walsh in a statement. "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 debuted last month at the White House Maker Faire in Washington, D.C., and Boston residents are encouraged to recommend one additional city park in which to install a Soofa. To make recommendations, click here or tweet a location to @NewUrbanMechs by Friday, July 11. 

Boston residents are also encouraged to submit ideas for names of the Soofas in each park by July 11 through Twitter @mysoofa or at soofa.co. The winners will be invited to visit designers at the MIT Media Lab. 

Soofas are also being piloted at Babson College and at MIT, according to officials. 

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