Many students probably dream of spending time in a tech-friendly lounge chair while waiting to attend classes. Developed by architecture students at MIT, lead by professor Sheila Kennedy, the SOFT Rocker is a lounge chair where one can rest, while recharging the batteries of various devices. The system that makes this possible uses the human power of balance to create an interactive 1.5 axis, 35 watt solar tracking system. Moreover, the lounger utilizes a 12-ampere hour battery storing the solar energy harvested during sunlight hours, making it possible to charge gadgets after sunset as well.
Here is more information from the official MIT press release: “The leaf-like loop form of the SOFT Rockers explores how standard softwood panels can be mass-customized to adapt to the latitude and sun angle of any site using parametric design software and automated fabrication with a lightweight Kuka robotic arm. The SOFT Rocker combines hi-tech and low-tech design strategies: it produces electricity but engages the body and works like furniture “by hand”; it mixes sun tracking and social dynamics; it is a site specific object and a flexible form family of ‘soft’ wood construction. The SOFT Rocker blurs distinctions between pleasure and work and recasts power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity rather than a centralized, singular off-site project of engineering“.