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Charge Your Phone for Free on This Solar Bench

The “Soofa” has two USB charging ports and tracks data on air quality, foot traffic, and radiation.
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Soofa

To charge your phone in public, you can mosey into a coffee shop and tap into an electrical outlet. Or, if you happen to live in a select few cities, you can find a Soofa bench and suck up some free, clean energy.

The forward-thinking furniture, debuted last year by engineers at the MIT Media Lab (who now run Changing Environments), looks like a regular bench with a Benihana griddle stuck in the middle. That’s actually a solar panel that channels electricity via USB ports. Two people can use it at once to charge phones, tablets, and other devices. Thanks to an energy-storage feature, it can also provide juice at night.