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Changing Environments

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Our lifestyle is mobile. We move, we travel, we share. Our generation is online anytime, anywhere, eager to connect to others in the city all over the world. All we need is a charged smart phone, an Internet connection and the right space to work, play and relax. Our vision is to create those spaces for the mobile generation by adding connectivity services like power, wifi and location-based information to existing infrastrucure. We create urban connections with smart urban furniture. We are starting with a bench.

The bench provides free access to renewable energy to charge smart phones and small electronic devices in cities. The bench is off-grid and entirely autonomous. Fully integrated solar panels store energy in batteries and can be accessed through weatherproof USB ports, allowing city dwellers to charge up anytime, anywhere. The batteries also power lighting and sensing technology inside the smart urban furniture. Each seat has a unique ID and forms part of a network, providing solar power for people and environmental data for cities. The bench will gather location-based data on air quality, currently we are focusing our efforts on pollution caused by vehicle exhaust as well as odor and smoke detection; the data will be open and freely-available.

Sandra Richter is a Marketing Scientist applying user-centered design to tomorrow’s products. Hardware and software are great tools to make products connected and responsive. She started small, with an Arduino, some code snippets and great friends to help make things that think. Now, together with Nan Zhao (Electrical Engineer). Sandra is helping build smart infrastructure.