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Dubai’s ‘smart palms’ charge phones and offer free Wi-Fi

Solar-powered "trees" in Dubai can charge electronic devices and connect people to the Internet without drawing from the power grid. (Smart Palm)

In Dubai, palm trees offer much more than shade from the desert heat. They charge smartphones and tablets, provide Wi-Fi connections and disseminate weather and transit information via touchscreens.  

Saket S. reports for the Thomson Reuters Foundation that two solar-powered “smart palms” have been installed near a hotel and park, with 103 more on the way over the next 12 months. The palms, which look more like a machine than a real tree, provide their services free of charge.

The high-tech trees made of plastic and concrete were created by Dubai-based D Ideas with initial financial support from the municipality, the article says. Future versions to be funded through advertising would add ATM machines and utility payment services. The palms can operate all day without drawing energy from the city’s power grid. The trees are part of Dubai’s wider effort to transition to renewable energy and promote businesses that cater to sustainability, the foundation notes.


Thomson Reuters Foundation

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