Solar-powered smart pole keeps commuters powered-up and surfing

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The Mito was designed by Art Lebedev studio at the request of Verisun(Credit: Art Lebedev / Verisun)

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Smartphones have made it easier than ever to keep occupied while commuting, but all it takes is a dead battery to make for a tedious waiting game. A recently installed piece of street furniture in the Turkish city of Istanbul, however, lets commuters keep their devices charged while surfing the web with that extra jolt of juice.

The Mito was designed by Art Lebedev studio at the request of Verisun, a Turkish tech company that deals in smart city solutions, among other things. The two firms previously worked on a solar-powered smart pole back in 2013, but began work on a new design in September of last year.

There are eight USB charging ports mounted in the Mito, allowing for up to eight mobile devices to be charged at any one time. In addition, wireless internet access allows commuters to check their emails, read the news or browse social media while they wait.

Transport information is provided via a built-in 7-in outdoor LCD screen. This includes the station or stop and route name, the expected arrival time of the bus or tram and the current temperature. The system is powered by Android content management software.

In addition to these features, the Mito also has an eye-catching design, with graceful curves and patterned wood covering an internal metal frame. It has to be said that the Mito doesn't really fit in with with the typical perfunctory vernacular of city street design, but it's a good-looking installation nonetheless.

The name Mito derives from the energy-generating mitochondrion found in cells and refers to the 240-W top-mounted solar panel that powers the unit. Verisun tells New Atlas that, in winter, the Mito can produce up to 600 Wh of electricity a day, which rises to 1,920 Wh in summer.

Both those figures are ample for the 360 Wh of power that Verisun says is required to run the Mito every day, but, in the event that the amount of electricity generated falls short in real-time, there's also a 60-Ah battery from which power can be pulled.

The first Mito was installed near a tram stop at Taksim Square in downtown Istanbul in February. Verisun says it plans to roll more out in different cities in the future.

Sources: Art Lebedev, Verisun

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