Boston officials have an awesome way to keep you texting and talking for even longer. Outside in the Boston area? Look for a solar-powered bench in the near future. Starting next week, the city of Boston will install benches called “Soofas.” These benches are solar-powered, outdoor charging stations for your smart phone. That’s not all.

These benches will also collect useful info including air quality and noise level data.

Boston joined forces with MIT Media Lab firm, Changing Environments, to make the benches a reality. The benches will be installed throughout the Boston area including Titus Sparrow Park, the Boston Common and Rose Kennedy Greenway.

“Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats?” said Boston Mayor Marty 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.”

Each Soofa bench has a bit more room for seating compared to the average bench and can charge two smartphones at the same time.

Live in the Boston area? You can decide where one more bench will be installed. Boston residents can tweet their favorite spot to NewUrbanMechs by July 11.

Boston residents aren’t even paying for the first set of benches. The pilot program is being funded by Cisco Systems.

If the benches are a hit, I would imagine the program will expand and other cities will start looking at solar-powered benches.

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