No, we didn’t just misspell “sofa.” Soofas are smart benches created by Changing Environments, a spinoff of the MIT Media Lab. Each Soofa has two USB ports where you can charge your phone or other handheld mobile device, and they share data about the hours of sunlight collected online. Even cooler, Soofas can sense the environment around them and collect data about environmental information like the quality of the air. The company’s website explains that these seating areas are “a solar-powered hub for smart, social and sustainable spaces.”
The Boston area’s first Soofas were installed around the city in June of last year, and according to a recent tweet from the City of Cambridge, 10 of the solar-powered seats are coming to our city (presumably when the snow melts and we actually want to, you know, spend time outside sitting on benches again). The Soofa website promises that more than 100 benches are coming to the area sometime this spring. In all likelihood, you’ll be seeing more of these benches over the coming months—Changing Environments just raised $1 million in seed money to develop apps that will use the data their benches collect.