An interesting project that Miller IDS touched in our shop is the Soofa Bench, a project for the Office of Sustainability of the City of Austin. The Soofa Bench is a “smart bench,” and the bench has a built-in charging station powered with solar panels for mobile devices. It is BYO-USB cable, otherwise you are good to go, or shall we say good ON the go!
The benches were designed by three graduate students from the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Innovation Lab. Currently the City has installed Soofa Benches in the Seaholm Eco-District, a lovely, grassy community hub tucked away north of Cesar Chavez, south of West 2nd Street and east of the former Seaholm Power Plant, which now houses numerous businesses including Honest Food, Trader Joes and UnderArmor Wired.
Austin is one of the cutting edge cities on the forefront of this device, included with Boulder, Boston and Jersey City. And it makes sense for Austin; as a community that values the outdoors but remains connected to our devices, what a great city to test our abilities to “rethink Austin for a bright green future.”
To read more on the Soofa Benches in Austin go to http://www.austintexas.gov/blog/soofa-bench-functioning-street-furniture. Our tiny part at Miller IDS was to create the aluminum labels that explain what the smart bench does. We thank the folks at Office of Sustainability for thinking of us!