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Resources Mar 06, 2013

Sustainable soccer? The Soccket is a powerful game changer

By Jimmy LaRoue

A photo of the Soccket by Emmanuel Nunez.

A photo of the Soccket by Emmanuel Nunez.

Harvard isn’t generally known for its soccer, but the Soccket might change that. And, more importantly, it can serve a powerful and purposeful need in the developing world.

What is the Soccket, exactly?

It’s a soccer ball that generates and stores electricity as it’s used.

Specifically, according to its creator, Jessica Matthews:

The SOCCKET is a durable, energy-harnessing soccer ball. Using Uncharted Play’s patent pending technology, the pendulum-like mechanism inside the SOCCKET captures the kinetic energy generated during normal play, and stores it in the ball for later use as an off-grid power source. Just 30 minutes of play can power a simple LED lamp for 3 hours.

Currently, the Soccket is a Kickstarter project seeking to raise $75,000 and currently has 463 backers with 21 days to go in getting the full funding.

After playing some soccer, users can plug in the included LED lamp to have light. Other potential prototypes are in the works include an energy-tracking device and a cell phone charger.

The ball itself is about an ounce heavier than a regular soccer ball and has been designed and put together in the United States, and it is being piloted in “resource-poor areas” in North and South America.

While the hipsters here might see this as the cool thing to have (and it is), in developing countries and impoverished areas, it can serve as a powerful, practical need while bringing some fun at the same time.

The Soccket ball reportedly doesn’t bounce quite the same as a normal soccer ball, but the makers say it is water-resistant, durable and is soft to the touch. It has a six watt output which can power the supplied lamp for at least 72 hours and weighs 17 ounces. The ball, according to the makers, is airless, deflation-proof and has a water-resistant shell. Backers of the project can get the Soccket ball and LED lamp for $99.

It has the potential to be a game-changer in the developing world, and the makers should be lauded for their efforts and for their social consciousness.

Read more about the project and Unchartered Play, the company and folks that created it. Other articles about the Soccket: Techcrunch, The Telegraph (UK), Uncrate, CNet, Geekosystem and Hypebeast.

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