Electricity Produced by Kicking a Soccer Ball
Who knew that a soccer ball could be outfitted as a portable device capable of generating enough energy to produce electricity, charge a cell phone, or charge a battery? Four students studying engineering at Harvard University figured it out and soOcket was invented!
This technology was developed primarily for African countries that have no access to electricity. The children in these countries do play soccer however, so these students figured out how to turn an ordinary soccer ball into a generator in order to give families an option of having light in their homes, even if it's just one light bulb.
How Does sOocket Work?
Inside the soccer ball, or football as it's called in Africa, there is a small mechanism designed to force or push a magnet through a coil, which then produces electricity whenever the ball is kicked, thrown, tossed, or dribbled. The technology is very similar to that used in flashlights that are shaken in order to produce energy so the flashlight will shine light.
A small socket in the ball is used to then plug in a small light or provide an outlet for charging a cell phone or battery.
The amazing thing is that playing just 15 minutes with sOocket produces enough energy to produce 3 hours of light via a LED light bulb. So, if the children play a full soccer match, which is about 90 minutes or so, they can produce enough energy in the ball (generator) to have nearly 20 hours of electricity. That's pretty amazing!
sOocket Reduces Health Risks Associated with Kerosene
Kerosene lamps are used by nearly 1 billion people world wide to produce light in their homes at night and in the early morning. Unfortunately, the smoke that comes from burning kerosene can cause health problems, such as respiratory infections, in both children and adults. If a kerosene lamp is knocked over, it can catch fire. A significant amount of each families' budget has to be allotted for kerosene, as it's very expensive.
This portable generator alleviates all of those health risks since it operates using a clean and renewable energy, produces no smoke or other side effects, and the energy is free to obtain – just play the game!
The Future of sOocket
As of 2010, this technology was just being launched and was gaining popularity in African countries. There are plans to continue producing the soccer ball/energy generator for countries without electricity through development-funding grants and partnerships.
Another version of socket is in the works for commercial sale to Western countries as more of a toy or going green item. The hope is that they can market it to those more fortunate as a way of giving one sOocket to those in need for every sOocket that is purchased.
The development team for this amazing technology is working on a prototype that will be lighter in weight than the original, with plans to use only the lowest cost materials available while still making a high quality and durable product. They're also working on making the soccer ball to be impervious to harsh weather or environmental conditions such as rain, dust, and extreme heat.