Soccer as an Energy Source

Aimed at helping impoverished communities with no access to generated power, the Soccket uses a “pendulum-like mechanism” to build up and store kinetic energy created by the rolling motion of the ball.

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Uncharted Play

The world’s most popular sport is also its newest energy source. The “for-profit social enterprise” Uncharted Play has developed a soccer ball that can power an electric lamp.

Aimed at helping impoverished communities with no access to generated power, the Soccket uses a “pendulum-like mechanism” to build up and store kinetic energy created by the rolling motion of the ball. According to Uncharted Play, 30 minutes of kicking the ball can keep an LED light on for three hours.

So far, the “energy harnessing soccer ball” has been distributed in poor areas in Mexico, South Africa and Brazil.

Only an “ounce heavier” than a regular soccer ball, theSoccket is water resistant and requires no inflation.

The co-founders of Uncharted Play, Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman, started Soccket as a class project during their junior year at Harvard.

They are trying to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter in order to mass-produce Soccket and make it available for everyone.

With nine days left before the deadline, Uncharted Play has already collected $72, 093 and hopes to reach its “stretch goal” of $150,000. They promise to provide an energy-tracking device and an emergency cellphone charger with Soccket, if the goal is met.

In addition to providing poverty-stricken families with electricity, Soccket has also been used in schools as a teaching tool to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Uncharted Play is working on a second project called Ludo, a soccer ball that converts playtime into points, which can be used online to donate items to social projects worldwide.

11 comments
JereJohnson
JereJohnson

Curious if this technology could be placed in car tires and used to help power the car?

Especially in electric vehicles, this could remove the burden from the battery packs and essentially be the "alternator" that is used in gasoline vehicles.

GeorgeMolnar
GeorgeMolnar

As for soccer - why not have jerseys made of a material that can produce static electricity. That way when someone tears off their jersey the static electrify generated could provide power.

And, why not extend this idea to other sports?

Basketball - a little mechanism that stores electricity every time the ball is bounced. With a little GPS/RFID/Scanner device it could also be used for officiating calls such as traveling, palming and double dribble.

Golf - a nano-tech gyroscope and accelerometer could be placed in the head of each oversized "wood" The resultant capacitance charge could be stored and Bluetooth transmitted to a laser guided GPS belly putter.

Baseball - same for the ball, along with a moisture sensor for "spitters". As for the bat, another accelerometer inside could run from the handle to the end of the bat. The cork inside would obviously protect it from damage.

Badminton - an "emotion" sensor (under development) could monitor the psychological attitude of each player and see who was really trying to lose.

Olympic Hammer Throw - the centripetal force is massive

Rowing - obvious - turbines on the oar blades.

Tennis - pizeo-electric "grunt" meters that convert acoustic waves to EMF

Ice Skating - use the conservation of angular momentum during the spins

Cross-Country Skiing, long distance running and Marathons - solar panels on their backs

American Football - the kinetic energy and momentum on each play, if converted efficiently and taxed properly, would have been enough to light the Super Bowl.

In fact, I see no technical reason that each sport can not only be self-sustaining from an energy point of view, but should contribute to a decrease in ozone depletion, global poverty and the rise of democracies.

MS1234
MS1234

This is the most brilliant thing. Combines giving essential play time to impoverished kids-this will allow them to grow into more confident, well-rounded and stable adults, and also a completely self-contained way to provide power and light. Incredibly brilliant, i donated what I could already.

paul.alan.robertson
paul.alan.robertson like.author.displayName 1 Like

That's awesome.  But it would make more sense if they *marketed* the balls in these areas instead of giving them away.  There is very good economic evidence that handouts to poor economies do more damage than good (excepting medical and food aid in disasters).  Hiring local people to sell these things would do *far* more to help out these communities than just to hand them neat (admittedly useful) gadgets and then feel like you've done something positive.  

gunnerfan420
gunnerfan420

It's amazing how out of touch your position seems to be. Do you have any concept of what "poverty-stricken" actually means? You think families are going to choose to buy a soccerball over food? Additionally there is no "economic evidence" that aid to poor economies do more damage than good or you would have linked to it.

How entitled are you that instead of helping people out with donations you suggest we sell the items to them instead so the creating corporation can profit from people in poverty. You must be a Republican.

ruraynor
ruraynor

@gunnerfan420 If you'd like to read about bad handouts, check out Good Intentions Are Not Enough (http://goodintents.org/). They talk about the damage that "gifts" to impoverished nations can do, for example, when you donate clothes to the 3rd world, you're actually putting the local clothes makers and sellers out of business. Donating these balls could mean the end of a livelihood for a sports retailer in Africa. 

paul.alan.robertson
paul.alan.robertson

@gunnerfan420 I didn't say "aid to poor economies", I said "giving handouts".  Actually, "aid" is typically far worse, because it enriches corrupt government officials and in many countries rarely gets to where it was intended. 

paul.alan.robertson
paul.alan.robertson

@gunnerfan420 no, in fact I almost always vote Democratic.  But I think most people have a really misguided idea of how poverty functions in poor countries.  These people own things, and have functioning local economies, but they have no financial system or any way to monetize what wealth they do posses.  It's more a problem with legal systems or property rights than with not having any resources.  I'm not out of touch at all - in fact I've studied economic development for many years and have traveled to at least three fairly low-income nations.  I'll try to find some of the evidence I'm citing, but generally when you give things away to poor people (who may or may not need them), the resources get wasted and any useful wealth created is sucked up by the aristocrats and elites in their society, which makes the people at the bottom relatively *more* poor! If they're allowed to make rational economic decisions the way we take for granted in the West, then they can attempt to build their own wealth.  In this case, say a non-profit sold these little generators for $1 each - then they could be a source of value in the local economy and stimulate trade among people who wanted to use them.  Prices would fluctuate based on how much people valued them.  But if you give them away, no one in their right mind is going to pay for one, thus they're worth exactly zero.  No one will take care of them or try to "sell" others on what a great product it is.  By giving them away, we destroy the value of what's been given and rob them of an opportunity for investment, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.