At least half of the 265 million people worldwide who play soccer live in developing regions, where electricity can be scarce. The sOccket, designed and distributed by New York–based nonprofit Uncharted Play, is a regulation-size ball that converts kicks and headers into off-the-grid power. With it, two hours of play produces enough wattage to light an LED for at least a night.
Made of durable 0.5-inch-thick watertight foam rubber instead of the typical thin leather, the sOccket retains the bounce and feel of a traditional air-filled ball while adding only six ounces of extra weight. As the ball spins, two six-inch-diameter conductive brass loops running the circumference of the inner shell move across magnetic rotors; the current induced by this motion travels through the loops to a powerconverting microchip, which saves energy in a rechargeable 3.6-volt lithium-ion battery. Included attachments, such as an LED lamp and water purifier, plug into the battery through a 35-millimeter jack hidden under a watertight door.
Four thousand donated sOcckets are already in use in five countries, including Nigeria and Haiti, and for every additional one sold in the U.S., another will be sent overseas.
As a novelty item, this is scarcely worth the materials.
As a practical item, it's totally outclassed by the simply hand-cranked LED lights commercially available for about $3 and if electricity is the goal, it seems even a modest solar panel would be preferable.
As a teaching tool, I can imagine the ball might have some usefulness, especially among teachers who wish to transfer minimal knowledge through maximum entertainment.
Overall, not worth the time or money to make. The cost of materials and manufacturing is greater (per watt) than any device intended to generate electricity and the amount of electricity generated is miniscule. Even for educational purposes, it would be better to build a generator or motor to demonstrate principles.
Plus, it's not even a very good soccer ball (being substantially heavier than regulation.)
I give it to the inventor for creativity - but this is at best a novelty item.
I respectfully but strongly disagree with BambiB! Fun and function! It's a GREAT IDEA!
Like the old guy said in "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart, "Ah, youth is wasted on the young!'
What a WONDERFUL idea to utilize play for a source of energy! I think you have an amazing product and I can see wide-ranging potential in the concept! Can you see swing sets generating electricity? Can you see other types of balls doing the same thing in this country?
Why can't we have footballs, basketballs, tether balls, volleyballs, etc. all generating power? If there's one thing that America is good at, it's PLAY! I can see almost EVERY form of play, child and adult alike, generating power in the form of electricity! We here in America might not use the power to generate light, but we might recharge a smart phone with it! I am so psyched by their idea! I think the sky's the limit! Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman at Uncharted Play have just scratched the surface of the world's greatest reservoir of energy, volunteer expenditure of energy for fun!