All those childhood hours playing football. All that wasted energy! Sure, I enjoyed myself, but sadly nothing of any tangible good came of it. Now the next generation of would-be Messis and Ronaldos can channel their youthful exuberance into something really meaningful thanks to the invention of two Harvard grads.
Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman are the brains behind Soccket II, a football which harnesses the kinetic energy generated from a kickabout and stores it as electricity. When playtime is over, an LED attachment can be plugged into a socket on the ball, providing hours of light. This is a useful way of reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy in the developed world, but, as Barack Obama noted, its potential for developing countries – especially the soccer-mad nations of Africa – is significant. As the duo’s Uncharted Play organisation points out, nearly two billion people worldwide lack access to reliable electricity, with serious, wide-ranging effects including limited education and poor healthcare. The NGO hopes to recruit a network of like minds to help tackle some of these issues in a creative and fun way, using the power of play as a force for good.
As well as bringing a smile to the faces of disadvantaged kids with the inventions (there’s also a skipping rope based on the same energy-storing principles), Uncharted Play delivers a curriculum highlighting the possibilities of inventions such as theirs as tools for social change, and encouraging youngsters to put their minds to finding solutions of their own.
* Uncharted Play is taking the Soccket II on tour to Brazil during the FIFA World Cup this month for some extreme product testing in the favelas. Keep up to date with the group’s work through the blog on the organisation’s website, which also has product details and more information on how you can get involved with Uncharted Play.