A group of students at the Harvard University have come up with an ingenious idea that could change the lives of African people. They have developed an energy harvesting soccer ball called sOccket that is able to produce electric energy when being kicked around.
When the soccer ball is kicked, it captures the energy from impact that is normally lost to the environment, storing this energy for later use. The electricity from this ball can then be used to charge a cell phone battery or to light an LED lamp for several hours.
In most African countries, 95% of the population is living off-grid with no access to electric energy. Thanks to this soccer ball people in developing nations will be able to play soccer in order to create the necessary power, without walking 3 hours simply to charge their cell phones.
When the sun goes down, most of the people from poor countries use kerosene lamps to light their homes. Besides that the kerosene is expensive, its flames are very dangerous and the smoke is causing many diseases like respiratory infections. Thus the sOccket ball is a source of clean energy derived from a healthy activity.
SOccket prototypes are with about 4 ounces bigger than a regular soccer ball (21 ounces) but the producers are hoping to reduce its weight with the use of lightweight materials. In the meantime, many trials have been transported in several areas of Durban, South Africa.
Well, the idea may look interesting if you’re a football fan, but it surely wouldn’t be of much use otherwise. Regarding the amount of energy generated, you could put the poor African people do something smarter than having to play soccer to light their homes at night. You’d better give them solar panels, solar energy on those poor countries is so abundant that they don’t know how to use it.
Or maybe they like it this way.