(USA)

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.