It sounds strange. How can soccer balls possibly eliminate the need for fume-filled kerosene lamps in developing countries? With the sOccket–a soccer ball developed by a group of Harvard students. The ball produces and stores electricity during regular game play. The electricity can then be used to light an LED lamp, charge cell phone, or juice up a battery.
Kerosene lamps are a major cause of health problems in the developing countries that rely on them. According to the World Bank, breathing fumes from burning kerosene indoors has the same effects as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The lamps also aren’t too kind to the environment. They produce 190 million metric tons a year of carbon dioxide emissions, or the equivalent to emissions from 38 million cars.
The sOccket could eventually help ease the reliance on toxic kerosene lamps. It works with inductive coil technology–similar to what is found in flashlights that power up when shaken. Every 15 minutes of play with the ball generates enough power to light up an LED lamp for 3 hours. That means a whole soccer game could easily provide light for a day.
Don’t expect to see the sOccket taking developing countries by storm anytime soon. It will originally be marketed in Western countries as a tech gadget, and money from the sales will then go to distributing the sOccket in poor nations. A commercial version should be ready by 2010, so get ready to start scouring store shelves.