Connect with us



Warm reception for solar benches


An American startup has attracted multi-million dollar backing for its solar benches.

The solar benches, from Soofa, charge devices using solar power. The MIT Media Lab spin out – launched by female engineers from MIT and Harvard – is ultimately making parks smarter. Soofa’s benches allow urban planners to gauge visitor numbers as it counts the number of Wi-Fi devices that use it. The bench itself is made of sustainable materials.

This month the company announced it had attracted $2.2 million as part of its latest funding initiative. It said the money will be used to employ more innovators and develop new products.


On its partnership with NYC Parks – signed last year – to place the benches in New York parks, Sandra Richter, Soofa co-founder and CEO, said: “We make it possible for every park to be smarter by taking simple, but very impactful actions.We love parks and technology, and we want to make sure they are combined in a way beneficial to us all.”

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver added: “These Soofa benches will provide a look forward into the future of parks. We know just how valuable the use of technology is and how important it is in our day-to-day experience – and these benches tap into that power by allowing us to measure park usership and engagement while protecting parkgoers privacy and providing a vital service.”

Cities across America are signing up to use the technology.

And it’s making an impact.

Newsletter Signup

Written By


Running out of charge? Why algae is the answer


How smart cities can rebuild world

Editor's Picks

NY kids turn to urban farming

food | water

Off-grid solar boom

renewable energy

Newsletter Signup