As an engineer, I am guilty of “nerding out” and gushing about neat technologies. When I stumbled across an article about the “soccket ball,” I was overjoyed and felt compelled to share with the Soccer Politics community.
Back in July, President Obama visited Tanzania and kicked around a soccer ball in the capital city of Dar es Saalam. This was no ordinary soccer ball; in fact, it was the Soccket ball, which harvests kinetic energy that can later be used to power a light or charge a cell phone. The Soccket ball capitalizes on the natural motion during play to swing a pendulum-like mechanism inside the ball, which creates energy and charges a rechargeable battery. After just 30 minutes of play, the ball has enough energy to power an LED lamp for 3 hours. Creator, Uncharted Play, argues that the Soccket’s playability barely differs from a normal ball. You can learn more from the video below:
Each “Portable Power Kit” contains one Soccket ball and 10 portable lamps. The basic idea is to use of of the most popular games in Africa as a catalyst to increase access to power in the world’s poorest continent. The World Bank estimates that only one-quarter of sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, and even areas with electricity experience power outages an average of 56 days a year. The Soccket demonstration underscores Obama’s plan to invest $7 billion in energy access programs in Tanzania and across Africa. Obama thinks the Soccket is “pretty cool,” and I would have to agree. It is a brilliant way to integrate culture and technology and use the resulting product to attack one of Africa’s most pressing problems.
If you’re looking to buy your own Soccket ball, unfortunately, they are currently sold out. However, you can sign up on Uncharted Play’s website to pre-order one.
Wow, thanks for posting this! This is definitely one of the coolest inventions I’ve heard of involving soccer. I agree that if it could be expanded to safely store, process, and transmit a higher voltage output with the same amount of play time and kinetic energy, then it could become of even greater use for communities that need to consume large amounts of electricity for certain tasks. Now, the technology just needs to catch up to the idea.
Wow, this could not be a more suitable blog post for you… That’s quite the innovative soccer ball. From our own experiences together in Tanzania, I’d have to say that the LED lights included in the “soccket ball” kit are extremely useful and important. Power outages occurred at least weekly, lasting hours and sometimes days. I’d love to see if this technology could be expanded for higher voltage outputs. But for its current intent, it gets the job done. Thank you for this share!