The Surprising Smart Technology Coming to Bean Town

Analyzing the top news stories across the web
July 1 2014 11:42 AM

Boston's New Solar-Powered “Smart” Benches

53436842JR010_Boston_By_Bal
Smart seating coming soon

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This post first appeared in Business Insider.

As the Internet of Things grows larger, we can now add benches to the list of things like watches, cars, phones, and everything else that comes in a "smart" variety. 

Advertisement

Solar-powered benches, called Soofas, will pop up in Boston parks over the next week, the Boston Globe reports. In addition to offering you a place to sit, the benches will feature plugs to charge your smartphone, and will also wirelessly connect to the internet to provide location-based information, like air quality data.

“Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls," Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement Friday, the Globe reports. "Why should our benches just be seats?”

“We want to make cities updated for our generation,” Sandra Richter, one of the three inventors of the Soofa, told Yahoo Tech. “One trait we have is we run around with our phones all the time, and they die every five minutes. So for us it’s really important to be charged up all the time and be connected to each other.”

Though you could have spotted a prototype or two around Boston this past winter, a dozen smart benches are set to pop up throughout the city, covered by Cisco Systems at no cost to the city, the Globe says. And while the first wave will only occur in the Soofa's hometown, Changing Environments has plans for future installments in San Jose, California, and New York too, Yahoo Tech says. 

Joey Cosco is a Business Insider technology intern.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.