Seat-e is a piece of smart solar-powered urban architecture with multiple functions

It's hard to get excited about new park benches, but those at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston are a pair of solar-powered seats that can charge your cellphone, connect to the internet, and provide ambient lighting at night. Known as the “seat-e,” the benches have proven a hit with the locals, even if many of them struggled to figure out what the benches were for at first.

Designed by a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and two colleagues as part of a broader program to embed consumer-usable technology into public places, the benches recently provided a total of eight hours charge time for 32 phones over a three-day period. This seems to be proof that the team from MIT have hit on a first world problem that people are keen to resolve.

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