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The University Center for Energy Efficient Buildings at CTU has developed a design collection for Levitee concrete urban furniture with the option of installing smart technologies. The news was presented to the public on 5 and 6 June 2019 at the Urbis Smart City Fair in Brno, where it competed for the Gold Medal for the best exhibited product awarded by the international expert commission. The furniture was designed as a set consisting of a cantilever bench and accessories that should bring wide variability in placing in the public space. Its solution builds on the development already started in 2015 and is based on searches conducted between manufacturers and end users. In addition to comfortable short-term rest, the Levitee bench can charge the phone to the user via USB, provide free Wi-Fi connectivity to mobile devices and even measure air quality with various end-user sensors, making it a perfect fit for Smart City.

Intelligent technology can be added or removed according to the customer's needs even after placing the furniture in the field thanks to their easy accessibility and placement in the compact boxes. In addition, they can run without power, because when in limited mode, the bench can operate in its own drawing power from photovoltaic panel and battery, where energy is stored to cover operational needs when the sun does not shine. In case of mounting more sensors and other elements with higher electricity consumption, the bench can be connected to the electrical network to function as a hybrid system with the panel.

Emphasis was put on the design, which should be interesting and yet not blatantly alert, as the creators want the bench to fit into the surroundings. Therefore, the CTU UCEEB team prepared an original mold and a mixture of high-quality concrete for the production of the presented prototype. Instead of classical steel reinforcements, they used technical textiles made of carbon fibers saturated with polymer matrix. The bench beneath the ground surface has been designed with a significant proportion of recycled material.  

The original shape of the carbon reinforcement was tested in the laboratory and is copyright protected together with the design of the bench. These stronger and more durable materials are not subject to corrosion and the thickness of the concrete can be considerably smaller. Thanks to the material and the original molding, the bench is thus much lighter and thus easier to transport than if it were made of conventional concrete with traditional reinforcement.


Alongside the Urbis trade fair, the bench should be on display at several locations in Prague this year, where three pieces will be installed as part of the Technology Transfer for Smart Prague project (supported by the Prague Pole of Growth Operational Program).