Over 1.5 billion people-one quarter of the world’s population-live in areas with no access to electricity, according to a recent UN report.Capitalizing on a sport’s global appeal to address this problem, a group of Harvard University students developed sOccket, a soccer ball that turns energy from a kick into electricity.
The portable energy-harvesting device captures the impact energy normally dissipated when the ball is kicked, storing it to charge lights, cell phones and batteries. It works with inductive coil technology, similar to that found in flashlights that power up when shaken.
For each 15 minutes of play, it can store enough energy to power a small LED light for three hours. sOccket could eventually help ease the reliance on toxic kerosene lamps in developing nations, thereby reducing the associated health risks.
Currently in the prototyping stages, sOccket has been successfully piloted in Durban, South Africa, and the development team has plans to market a commercial version of the sOccket in Western countries as a high-end tech toy, possibly using a “buy one-give one” model, to subsidize the cost of distributing sOccket in developing nations.
Being an all-in-one soccer ball, portable generator, community builder and global health tool, sOccket is another shining example of the functionall trend covered in our sister site’s latest briefing. sOccket has attracted several development funding grants and is now in the process of developing production and distribution partnerships.
One to partner with or otherwise get involved in? (Related: Hippo water roller – Single-use toilet bag turns human waste into fertilizer.)