Here’s a recent story with updates on the s0ccket project, the collection of soccer/(foot) ball kinetic energy to be used to power lights and other devices later that night — some new developments since this innovation appeared back in 2010. Thanks to Michael Reilly for the tip.
Who ever said that play can’t change the world? The Soccket ball, developed by two Harvard alumns, is a regulation-size soccer ball containing an inductive coil mechanism that captures and stores a small electrical charge. With a tiny flip cap that reveals an 1/8″ input, after less than 30 minutes of play, the Soccket will power an LED light for 3 hours, charge a battery, or operate other small devices, including an iPhone or portable CD player.
Think powering a small LED isn’t a big deal? According to the World Bank’s 2009 report, 65% of people in Africa and 25% of Latin America still have NO access to electricity. And since soccer is one of the world’s most popular sports — particularly in African and Latin America — the Soccket ball could be a meaningful source of electricity, especially to kids who often find ways to play even in harsh environments. So far 2,500 Soccket balls have been distributed through pilot programs for kids ages 7-12 in Tlaquepaque, Mexico; and in Chicago and Newark here in the states.
The Soccket’s outer measurements are identical to a regulation ball, and, tech pack included, it weighs only two ounces more. Made with a foam core and spongy foam fabric wrapped in vinyl, it can keep rolling after a puncture, unlike conventional soccer balls. The lead engineer for the team reports that the Soccket’s bounce is a little less than standard, but they’re working to improve it to match what players are used to.