John Guilfoil Public Relations

A chair that charges your smartphone

Just because winter in Boston lasts forever doesn’t mean the sun goes away. In Boston, we wanted to give people something to make the cold, sunny, winter days more enjoyable. So we teamed with the MIT Media Lab to put solar-powered chairs that charge your smartphone, right on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

A seat that charges your smartphone with solar power, seat-e was developed by MIT Media Lab in partnership with the City of Boston

The pair of seats will provide city dwellers with a source of renewable energy to charge their phones and allow users to interact with imbedded “social lights,”’ which shift colors based on the use of the seats. Future versions of seat-e will include air quality sensors to measure smoke, exhaust and odor. The data collected will be available to the public.

This is the kind of public-private partnership that shows how creative government can be when we put our heads together. “seat-e” was designed and built by MIT alumna Ines Gaisset, MIT Media Lab Visiting Scientist Sandra Richter, and Media Lab PhD candidate Nan Zhao. The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics partnered with MIT and hte Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

Boston Globe coverage of seat-e
The partnership goes towards Boston’s Complete Streets initiative, aimed at making streets and streetscapes better looking, greener, smarter, and more multi-modal.

Boston Complete Streets policy continues to balance our streets for all road users, making it as safe and convenient for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users as it is for those in a car. This latest edition thinks beyond just “multimodal” and incorporates “green” and “smart” components into the streetscape, a unique approach in this realm.

As the Mayor’s Deputy Press Secretary, I worked with the three major partners involved in this project to secure coverage in The Boston Globe, and I put out a press release to our office’s wide-ranging media list, including television, radio, and online reporters.