The Smart Bench Challenge

Organisation Name Cambridge Science Park
Main contact Jeanette Walker
Name of challenge The Smart Bench Challenge: Design a smart bench to monitor, measure and change behaviour or environment
Brief summary of challenge

The challenge is to develop the ultimate, multi-functional affordable bench with multiple features, with a focus on health issues and use of facilities nearby, with Cambridge Science Park available as a testing ground for ideas and prototypes

e.g. a bench that:

  • identifies the person using fingerprint, facial or iris recognition
  • measures health factors e.g. weight, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, glucose etc and sends the results to the person’s mobile phone or direct to a bespoke app


  • air pollution
  • noise pollution
  • UV rays
  • breathalyser (alcohol)
  • Pollen

Secondary purpose: Provides information:

  • local services
  • traffic
  • Weather info
Context The Cambridge Science Park opened in 1973 and is the leading science park in Europe. The Park is keen to be an early adopter of innovation.  The Smart Bench Challenge supports the Park’s ambition to a) promote health and wellbeing and b) to adopt early innovation that could be rolled out beyond the Park.
The benefits to be gained from addressing this challenge for the challenge owner are…
  • Raising the profile of Cambridge Science Park as an early adopter of innovative products and technology.
  • Economic – outputs could form the basis of a new company or the ideas generated could be developed further/commercialised by an existing company, with a global market opportunity.
  • Health related – people would have easy access to basic health information
The benefits to be gained from addressing this challenge by the team are…
  • The opportunity to work in partnership with Europe’s leading science park which is owned by Trinity College Cambridge, with the opportunity to develop a product.
  • The opportunity to make a beneficial impact on people’s lives by providing them with real-time health data which can inform lifestyle decisions.
Any work already done and status

With devices like the Smart Bench, Strawberry is creating the next generation of Urban Furniture for Smart Cities by providing people on the go with a full battery, WiFi, relevant local info & more. Now in 30 cities, Strawberry is raising to expand its network of smart furniture to new cities.

Smart Bench is a 100% solar powered hub that provides phone charging, WiFi, air quality sensing & local information.

Cities often do not have the agility or budgets to answer trends as quickly as needed, so we offer networks of Smart Benches free of charge to cities & people. We sell commercial sponsorship rights to brand our furniture across the network to brands that want to engage with people in an innovative way.

Success would look like… Detailed plans/drawings for prototype bench complete at end of event, and ready for prototype build.  Timeline/roadmap developed by end of event to show progress from design -> prototype -> production.  Subsequent to event, at least one prototype bench installed at the Cambridge Science Park.
Support available
  • Cash prize of £1,000 for the winning team
  • Follow-up meetings with Cambridge Science Park management
  • Introduction to investors, partners, manufacturers, etc
  • Promotion after successful prototype to, for example, the United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA) for roll-out to other science parks
  • Possibility of funded trial to test prototype in Cambridge Science Park post event
Key skills and technology sought
  • Software development
  • Sensors
  • Engineering
  • Wireless
  • Design
  • Manufacture
  • Data management
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Behavioural change
Key attributes of successful challenge teams
  •  Willing to collaborate with Cambridge Science Park management
  • Ambitious
  • Committed to progressing to a commercial product

Apply Now!
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Thanks to the Bradfield Centre for hosting us!