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Power Technology

Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks 119

An anonymous reader writes Through a partnership with a MIT Media Lab spinoff, Changing Environments, Boston has announced that it will install solar-powered benches in several of its parks that allow you to charge your cell phone. The bench has a USB outlet, and also collects and shares a wide range of data, including location-based information, as well as air quality and noise-levels. "Your cell phone doesn't just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?" said Mayor Martin J. 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."
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Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

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  • i did this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @12:06PM (#47350883) Homepage
    i did this in my backyard. except with a bar. I build a bar that had a canopy, on the canopy i attached a few panels, enough to power the lighting, a small stereo and a handful of USB chargers build into the bar itself. I dont have a large backup battery yet so its really only useful during the day time right now, however this makes perfect sense to do in parks, small scale solar is great for isolated outdoor areas
  • by Torp ( 199297 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @12:33PM (#47351101)

    ... just use a cheap USB cable from a cheap charger that only has the GND and 5V wires to save costs :)
    No data exchange will be possible.
    Might still be good to disinfect it after each use.

  • Re:But ugly as hell (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChadL ( 880878 ) * on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:21PM (#47351559) Homepage
    It looks suspiciously like the smaller armrests placed in the middle of benches in order to prevent the homeless from being able to sleep on the benches, rather then just a poor design decision; but I don't really know what the thought process behind the decision was. I agree with you, a poor design that is also ugly.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein