Solar chair produces energy while you chill

Soft rock is all the rage these days on the MIT campus SOFT Rockers, that is, a functional art installation by the institute’s school of architecture students, led by professor Sheila Kennedy.

Designboom reports that these solar powered outdoor loungers use the power of human balance to orient at an optimal angle to the sun.

While you recline in the shade of this unique, tear-drop-shaped chair, the solar panels on top soak up the sun, offering talk-time and charging for your cell phone and other portable electronics.

The SOFT Rocker design 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 in conjunction with a lightweight Kuka robotic arm (that’s the tech that uses your body weight to orient the SOFT Rocker to the sun).

According to MIT, the SOFT Rocker combines hi-tech and low-tech design strategies by integrating the production of energy–something that’s usually accomplished out of site, via engineering–into the everyday functionality of furniture, bringing together technology and social dynamics.

* Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling