Image via Yanko Design
Designer Ji Sung Park offers up an idea for a solar powered park bench that acts like a flower. During the day, the petals are unfurled and act as seats for passers-by, while at night, the petals fold up and it becomes a path light. Neat...but as with all concept designs, we have a few suggestions.
It's kind of a rip off of the Toyota solar flower wifi spots, but with less ad campaign and more amusement park. Unfortunately, it lacks the wifi connectivity that makes Toyota's oddball benches really attractive to people.
And, why not have it connect to the grid? On a sunny day, that big solar panel could collect more energy than needed to power an LED night light and fold up the petals. It seems this could be maximized to add power to the grid whenever possible. No matter what, these would need to be placed in a location that maximizes sunlight, and that minimizes the number of them that would appear in parks, which seems to be where they'd best fit in. The other option is sunny city sidewalks and squares, where they can more easily be connected to the grid.
Let's talk about those folding petals for a moment, too. Why fold up at night? People still like to sit even after the sun goes down. It'd be a shame to try and enjoy a sunset in the park only to have your seat fold up on you as soon as twilight hits. Plus, if a storm hits a night, there will be a whole lot of debris piled up inside there that could gum up the works and would need to be cleaned out the next morning. The mechanical parts needed to make the petals fold up are just a waste of materials.
So, a cute bench like this with solar power is an interesting thought, but this design doesn't seem fleshed out at all. We've seen better, more practical solar powered bench designs.