Last weekend the World Cup started, and along with all the attention on the event, a few Harvard engineering alumni will be unveiling a soccer ball prototype that generates energy to power an embedded LED light. Meant for communities with little access to electricity, the soccer ball generates power with as few as 10-minutes of play.
The idea is that children would play with the ball after school, then use its built-in light at home, which is estimated to last for up to 3 hours. The current version of the ball has a DC jack so it can be used to power other electronics. According to the designers the movement of the ball sends a magnet through a coil that induces a voltage to generate electricity, but the mechanism will go unnoticed by the users and won't affect the ball's motion.
The designers, Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman, and Hemali Thakkar, all used their shared experience of extended time in Africa and observation of the infectious energy of children playing soccer, to produce a positive product. Silverman will represent the group at this year's World Cup in hopes of getting the sOccket sponsored by major soccer corporations. They are considering distributing the ball under the "buy one, give one" marketing model, similar to the TOMS Shoes campaign where the sale of one ball would fund the distribution of another ball for a community in need.
Read more about the sOccket at soccket.com.
(Image via inhabitots)