Running out of power is a big enough problem that companies are trying to create public charging stations.
When you’re on your last bit of power, spotting a solar battery charger station located on a nearby public bench could have the same impact as spotting an oasis in the middle of a barren desert.
It could be that it won’t be too long before USB ports will be available pretty much everywhere we go.
A company called Changing Environments has already invented a solar battery charger that is built into a public bench that uses the free power from the sun to be able to charge mobile devices such as smartphones. The idea is that while people take some time off their feet, watch the duck pond, or even wait for the bus, they can plug in their devices and give their power levels a boost.
A solar battery charger like this could be helpful free energy on the go, but is it enough for you?
One drawback of the “Soofa” that had been voiced was that it could open up the door to hackers. According to Changing Environments CEO Sandra Richter, that’s not a concern. The battery pack benches are equipped with considerable protection against the spread of viruses or other malicious acts. Furthermore, the actual cell phone chargers are housed inside concrete boxes that can be opened only with special devices owned only by the company staff. If someone tries to force the boxes open, the chargers are disabled.
The next thought, however, is that in order to actually charge your device, you’d need to stay on the bench for quite some time. Unless you’re just topping up a device that is already nearly at its full charge, it could be a while before a real difference is made. If waiting for the bus, that five or ten minutes could mean that you could send and receive a couple more texts, but it wouldn’t do too much for your talk and app use time.
It is clear that this type of solar battery charger technology is a great convenience, particularly in emergency charging situations. But for a person who is truly on the go and needs to keep the device going, the best option is the power bank from an external battery charger that will bring back the charge without having to stay in one place for an hour or so. This is particularly true if you don’t live in Boston, the only location that the Soofa is currently available.