MIT spinoff reinvents the sustainable cityscape with just four bolts

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MIT spinoff reinvents the sustainable cityscape with just four bolts

Boston, November 3, 2016 – Soofa, a spinoff of MIT, has joined forces with Visionect to activate public spaces in Boston. The result is the Soofa Sign, the bulletin board of the 21st century. The solar-powered smart urban furniture uses electronic paper to share information with the local community, contributing to the city’s sustainability goals. All this achieved by just four bolts.

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MAYOR WALSH ADDS FIRST OF ITS KIND SOOFA SIGN TO SAMUEL ADAMS PARK

MAYOR WALSH ADDS FIRST OF ITS KIND SOOFA SIGN TO SAMUEL ADAMS PARK

BOSTON - Friday, September 23, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today revealed a solar powered Soofa Sign in Samuel Adams Park, located outside of Faneuil Hall. A companion to the screen unveiled on City Hall Plaza in July, the Soofa Sign will provide visitors to Faneuil Hall and Samuel Adams Park with information on local events and City services, and encourage visitors and residents to engage with each other and the City through social media. Through a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) and Soofa, the prototype sign is the first of its kind in the world.

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Cambridge Ice Cream Shop Toscanini’s Installs Soofa Bench

CAMBRIDGE: Soofa is excited to announce the installation of a Soofa Bench outside Toscanini’s ice cream shop in Cambridge. Toscanini’s is a Cambridge icon, and known for both its delicious ice cream and cutting-edge flavor experiments. The solar-powered Soofa Bench charges mobile devices via USB, modernizing outdoor spaces in the process. Passerby can grab a cone, cup of coffee, and charge at the home of what The New York Times calls the  “the World’s Best Ice Cream”.

Toscanini’s has gained its legendary status through a commitment to ice cream innovation. It was no surprise, then, that they wanted innovate their benches by becoming a Soofa Bench early adopter. Toscanini’s Soofa Bench was the first installed in Cambridge. Thirteen more benches will be installed around Cambridge during early June 2015.

About Toscanini’s:

Deemed “The World's Best Ice Cream” by The New York Times, we at Toscanini’s take our ice creams, coffees and teas seriously, as do our customers. In September, 1981 Toscanini’s was founded by Gus Rancatore, Kurt Jaenicke, Pearl Morrison, Janet Rosenblatt, Rich Johnston, Diane Depczenski, Pat Johnston, Miriam Stewart, Donna Muffoletto, Cornelia Rancatore, Eleanor Rancatore and Mimi Rancatore, all of whom worked for free and made contributions that enabled the 800 square foot ice cream store at 899 Main Street to survive its first year. After 27 years of hard work and dedication, Toscanini’s is now a widely successful family business. All of our ice cream is homemade in store. We are always interested in new flavors. Learn more at http://www.tosci.com/, or visit us at 899 Main St, Cambridge, MA.

About Soofa:

Soofa is committed to reinvent overlooked but ubiquitous city infrastructure, like benches. It was founded by a team of female engineers and designers from Harvard and MIT and leads the smart city applications space. Their most recent product, the Soofa Bench was piloted with the City of Boston in 2014. Based on the product’s success, 100 Soofa Benches have been installed by early adopters in 7 U.S. States. Soofa makes the city of tomorrow, today. Visit www.soofa.co

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The City of Cambridge installs smart, eco-friendly urban furniture: Soofa Benches

CAMBRIDGE - 06/04/2015  Soofa is pleased to announce the installation of reinvented benches in a variety of locations across the City of Cambridge. The twist: the benches are solar-powered and they can charge your cell phone. The so-called “Soofa Bench,” can charge small electronic devices via USB and powers a suite of environmental sensors developed by the female-led MIT startup Soofa.

Soofa Bench installation locations were chosen to best provide services in high foot-traffic areas ranging from bus stops to parks to storefronts. People will be able to enjoy the outdoors and charge their mobile devices in Central Square, Harvard Square, Fresh Pond, and Danehy Park, among many other locations. Popular ice cream shop Toscanini has also sponsored a Bench, so customers may enjoy their ice cream outside while staying connected and charged.

“We saw the amazing public engagement towards the Soofa Benches in Boston and at the White House Maker Faire last year,” says Sandra Richter, founder and CEO of Soofa. “We decided to bring the idea to our hometown of Cambridge.”

Soofa Benches are installed around Boston, and will also be rolling out in Los Angeles, Austin, Cambridge and Miami this summer through the Early Adopter Program. “We are excited to be part of the Early Adopter Program this year and hope this smart urban furniture will benefit the people living, working, and play in Cambridge.” said Acting Assistant City Manager of Community Development Iram Farooq. 

About Soofa: 
Soofa is committed to reinvent overlooked but ubiquitous city infrastructure, like benches. It was founded by a team of female engineers and designers from Harvard and MIT and leads the smart city applications space. Their most recent product, the Soofa Bench was piloted with the City of Boston in 2014. Based on the product’s success, 5 major U.S. cities have adopted the technology. Soofa makes the city of tomorrow, today. Visit www.soofa.co

 

 

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Soofa Might be Coming to your City Soon

Austin, Los Angeles and Cambridge were selected into the Soofa Early Adopter Program to lead the effort to make public spaces smart, social and sustainable with eco-friendly furniture for the digital age.

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Soofa today announced the cities leading the effort of the Soofa Early Adopter Program. 

Soofa Benches will be placed into the new EcoDistrict in the City of Austin, support the Great Streets Initiative in Los Angeles and build a R&D network in the City of Cambridge.

Soofa installed 10 Soofa Benches in Boston as a pilot program with phenomenal success. The Soofa Benches are used everyday by city dwellers charging up their electronic devices like smart phones or speakers with solar energy. Sponsored by Cisco, the Soofa Benches were placed in parks, at playgrounds, and on sports fields. Soofa turned into an icon for smart, social and sustainable cities receiving continuous press worldwide. After receiving countless e-mails from all over the USA and the world, the team decided to start an Early Adopter Program for innovative cities to bring Soofa Benches to their people. While the lead cities are selected Soofa continues to accept applications to the program. The creators behind Soofa are three women who share one vision: getting people out of their homes and into a smarter and more sustainable city.

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Mayor Walsh Announces High-Tech Solar Powered Benches Coming to Area Parks

BOSTON – Some Boston area parks will be piloting a 21st Century bench upgrade through a partnership with the MIT Media Lab spin-off firm, Changing Environments. “Soofa,” as the bench is termed, is a solar-powered outdoor charging station that also collects and shares location-based information like air quality and noise level data. The high-tech benches will be deployed in green spaces in Boston over the next week, including in Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Soofa debuted last week at the White House Maker Faire in Washington, D.C., where select innovators and entrepreneurs gathered to encourage robust development of new American ideas.

“Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?” said Mayor Walsh. “We are fortunate to have talented entrepreneurs and makers in Boston thinking creatively about sustainability and the next generation of amenities for our residents.”

The Soofa will provide more seating space and will be able to charge two phones at a time, building on the functionality of the first solar-powered seat by Changing Environments, which was successfully piloted in Boston in 2013 in a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, the MIT Media Lab, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

“We’re delighted to continue the Greenway's partnership with New Urban Mechanics and the MIT Media Lab,” said Jesse Brackenbury, Executive Director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. “The Soofa will allow visitors and their phones to enjoy the sun on the Greenway.”

The City of Boston is asking residents to recommend one additional City of Boston park to install the Soofa. Residents are encouraged to go online and recommend a location at bit.ly/bosbench  or tweet the location to @newurbanmechs by July 11.

In addition, the designers at Changing Environments are asking Bostonians to submit ideas for names of the Soofas in each park by July 11 through Twitter to @mysoofa or via the website, soofa.co. The winners will be invited to visit designers at the MIT Media Lab and see where it all started.

“Soofa is the first step into Smart Urban Furniture. The possibilities to update the city for the mobile generation are endless and long overdue,” said Sandra Richter, Co-founder and CEO of the young startup. “So are more female-lead startups which is why we hope to be a roll-model for women all over the world to found cool companies like Nan Zhao, Jutta Friedrichs and I did.”

Soofas are also being piloted at Babson College and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

About Soofa

Soofa is a Verizon Innovation Program partner and uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network to connect its benches wirelessly to the internet and upload location-based environmental information. The first units in Boston are funded by Cisco Systems, a leader in development of smart city solutions, at no cost to the City.

About the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics Streetscape Lab

Following on the tails of the Public Space Invitational, the partnership with Soofa is another project of the Streetscape Lab of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, which is exploring how to make Boston's public spaces greener, smarter, and more awesome.

Video announcement online at: bit.ly/makerchat_soofa

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Soofa, the Outdoor Bench with a Solar-Powered Charging and Sensing Hub, Unveiled at White House Maker Faire

Soofa is a solar-powered bench that provides people with free outdoor charging and location-based information, such as air quality and noise level, by uploading environmental sensor data to soofa.co. This smart urban furniture is developed by soofa, an MIT Media Lab spin-off.

WASHINGTON, DC - Today Soofa unveiled the Soofa Bench, their solar-powered bench, at the White House Maker Faire in Washington, DC, where select innovators and entrepreneurs have been gathered in an effort to encourage the development and exchange of new ideas for technological innovation in America. This “smart urban furniture” is designed to attract citizens with its modern flair and built-in power supply, encouraging a shared social experience. The integrated computer will also double as a collection center for location-based urban data, such as air quality and noise level.

The creators behind the Soofa bench are three women who share one vision: getting people out of their homes and into a smarter and more sustainable city. “We want to connect people to their city with smart technologies,” says Nan Zhao, co-founder of soofa and PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab.

With the support of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, the team is installing the first dozen benches over the course of the next month in and around Boston. The benches will provide city dwellers with solar energy to charge their electronic devices in parks, at playgrounds, and on sports fields. These first units are funded by Cisco, which shares the team’s interest in expanding the “Internet of Everything” movement into the city.

Soofa is a Verizon Innovation Program partner and uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network to connect wirelessly to the internet and upload location-based environmental information. On soofa.co, citizens can access previously invisible information about their city and look up where to find a Soofa.

Each Soofa has a name; Hedy was unveiled at the White House today. For the Boston installation, the team invites the public to name a bench by visiting soofa.co. The final selection will be chosen on July 1, 2014. “We want to reactivate the city and create a new shared social experience. Computers took people off the streets,” notes Jutta Friedrichs, co-founder and designer of the smart urban furniture. “We envision Soofas acting as magnets that invite people to enjoy the outdoors while reading the news, sharing a video, or catching up on email without fear of running out of power.”

After Boston, the team plans to expand the network of Soofas to build a smart energy infrastructure that collects urban data and informs citizens about their environment. “Soofa is the first step into smart urban furniture. The possibilities to update the city for the mobile generation are endless and long overdue,” states Sandra Richter, co-founder and CEO of the young startup. “We’re also overdue to see more female-led startups, which is why we hope to be a role model for women all over the world who want to found cool companies.”

 

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