14 March 2012

"sOccket" is a soccer ball/electrical generator

This is a very cool idea, currently beyond "concept" and into mass production.
The sOccket harnesses the kinetic (motion) energy of the soccer ball during normal game play and stores it for later power needs. After play, small electrical appliances, like an LED lamp, can be plugged into the sOccket. 

About 20% of the people in the world have no access to electricity; they can spend 10-30% of their resources on kerosene for fuel. The sOccket ball allows them to redeploy some of those funds. In addition, the ball is durable (3+ year lifespan), and replaces substitutes like the "ju-ju ball," made by tying plastic bags together.

Information at the company's homepage.


  1. Very clever, but I can't help thinking it's a bit misplaced.
    It's the sort of clever idea that comes from outside, while leaving the users with no more skills than they had before. Teaching people how to make a windmill, or solar hot water, or turn old alternators into pedal-powered generators - almost anything would be more locally useful.
    As for three years lifespan - I've yet to meet a football that will last a year on a harsh surface (they're hardly likely to be playing on a nice turn pitch) and three years seems optimistic in the extreme.
    And what about when it does wear - what happens to the innards? Is there a fall-back plan for the gubbins to be readily converted into a different form of generator?
    I'm tempted to say I don't mean to put it down and discourage it - but on reflection I think that's exactly what I do want to say.

  2. Replies
    1. I believe I heard of that principle having being applied on a Japanese disco dance club floor, but I don't have a link.

  3. I'm with Skipweasel on this one and also, on their website they loudly make a claim, without quoting any sources, that smoking 40 cigarettes a day is the same as using a single kerosene lamp. That doesn't sound very scientific and my gut feeling is that it cannot be true or we'd have heard about it long before now. Better to donate your hard-earned to a reputable charity like Medicin Sans Frontieres or Unicef.

    1. I did a quick search, and it looks like your gut feeling may be wrong, according to the World Bank -

      "The World Bank estimates that 780 million women and children breathe the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes each day as a result of fumes from kerosene lamps."

      Maybe we don't hear about it because we live in the first world.

    2. Oddly, I did know that air pollution in poor dwellings can be fairly dire, but that came from the cooking stove context, not lighting. Found it while looking for information on rocket stoves.

    3. I, astoundedly, stand corrected!!

  4. Teaching people how to make a solar-powered water heater is all very well, but a lot of these communities just won't have the materials or resources to do so. On the other hand, everybody needs light and kids the world over enjoy kicking a ball around...


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