Could soccer help the developing world score more electricity? sOccket, a plug-in soccer ball that captures energy during a game and uses it to charge LEDs and batteries, could be a game changer.
Developed by four Harvard University students connected by their travels to Africa and other developing nations, the idea for the sOccket was originally kicked around for an engineering course assignment, explains the Harvard Gazette. Their ingenious concept involves inserting a soccer ball with an inductive coil mechanism that transforms the toy into an eco-friendly portable generator. The kinetic movement of the sOcket ball propels a magnet through a coil that induces a voltage to generate electricity.
The newest ball requires as little as 10 minutes of play time to generate three hours of energy on an LED light. "The beauty of sOccket is that a kid in a developing nation can play a game of soccer after school, leave the playground, take the ball home, plug a basic lamp into a built-in fixture and have enough light to do homework," observes the blog Social Innovation.
Currently most African nations use kerosene, an expensive and toxic substance, to power their homes. However, sOccket is sidelining the oil-based fuel. With over 46 million soccer players in Africa alone, soccer has become the continent's most electric sport.