SHOPPERS at Ellenbrook Central will no longer suffer from nomophobia due to a flat mobile battery thanks to the installation of a solar-panel bench that can charge their electronic devices.
The seat is the first of its kind to be installed at a shopping centre in Australia and can charge up to three devices at a time through two USB charging points and one wireless device charger.
The Steora Smart Bench collects and stores up to 100 watts of electricity every hour, enough energy to power a mobile device for a week, even if the sun isn’t shining.
It cost about $5000 to install at the west entrance of the centre and has an inbuilt cooling system so it is safe to sit on.
Vicinity Centres regional general manager shopping centres WA Richard Terhorst said the Smart Bench also had built-in sensors which monitored phone charging usage, as well as air quality, temperature, humidity and rain, with data transmitted wirelessly.
“The bench seat has four cooling fans which activate automatically when temperatures climb so that the bench seat remains comfortably cool,” he said.
“If people are sitting on the bench it does impact the amount of charge the solar panels can absorb. However, it does have a battery pack which, given Ellenbrook’s ideal climate for solar electricity generation, means the Smart Bench is very unlikely to ever run out of power.”
Mr Terhorst couldn’t confirm the next Vicinity centre to get a Smart Bench but Perth DFO and Mandurah Forum were possibilities.