We’ve all been there: walking across the city, trying to make it to an outlet before our smart phone battery runs out. It’s bad enough when this happens on a normal day, but when you’re waiting for an important call or email, it’s even more stressful. Coffee shops and bookstores can sometimes act as charging way stations, but you’ve got to buy something, and that’s not very convenient if you’re in a hurry.
It’s no surprise that a solution to this urban dilemma would come from New York City, a metropolis with more pedestrians than almost any other in the nation. Pensa NYC, the design firm behind these current-powered lights, created “Street Charge,” a solar-powered street light concept that would double as a quick charge station for gadgets.
The thing that sets Pensa’s solar-powered street lamp design apart from others we’ve featured in the past is that it can be integrated into existing urban infrastructure, in this case, existing street signs or lamp posts.
A slender solar panel strip could be fitted onto existing structures, gathering light and power during the day. Down below a small table or bench turns the spot from a desolate street corner into a temporary, well-lit oasis. Your feet get a rest and your phone gets a much needed five minutes of juice.
What’s not clear from Pensa’s preliminary concept is how the strip and table will be attached to the pole in such a way that vandals wouldn’t be able to remove it. It’s also not clear how much sunlight the Street Charge would need to be fully charged, whether it would contain a storage battery, and how long it would remain lit once charged.