Let it not be said that public parks are anti-technology. Over in Boston, city officials are more than happy to try new things in green spaces, including the use of solar-powered smart benches, aka “soofas.” These look a lot like regular benches, except they’re equipped with big, steel-encased blocks that contain vulnerable-looking photovoltaic panels and charging points for weary-legged phone users. There’s also a mishmash of Verizon-connected sensors inside, which record and transmit data about air quality and noise levels. The installation of the benches is being funded by Cisco, which is presumably looking for tangible and endearing ways to promote the internet of things. However, it’s being left up to local Bostonians to pitch which parks deserve to get soofa’d up — and these pitches need to be submitted by July 11th.
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