Born during a student project carried out by Jessica Lin, Julia Silverman, Jessica Matthews and Hemali Thakkar at the Ivy League university, sOccket is a football that harnesses the kinetic (motion) energy of a soccer ball during normal game play, storing it for subsequent power needs.
The name sOccket in fact has a triple meaning. It is a soccer ball; it acts as an electrical socket; and you ‘sock it one’ to generate that electrical energy.
After being played with in a casual soccer match between friends, the sOccket can become an energy-efficient power source into which small electrical appliances are plugged. Kicking and throwing the ball for just half an hour generates enough electricity to power an LED lamp for three hours, for example.
It is estimated that more than one in five people in the world have no electricity and alternatives like kerosene lamps, diesel generators and wood burning stoves are harmful to the environment such that they are estimated to cause 1.6 million deaths each year.
It is also thought that resource-poor families can spend 10 to 30 per cent of their income on kerosene, while living with the fumes from one kerosene lamp can cause the same damage as smoking two packs of cigarettes each day.
As a portable source of clean, renewable energy, the sOccket therefore has the potential to make a massive difference to the lives of many families.
And of course it’s not just its credentials as an energy source that make sOccket a potential winner: Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, especially in developing countries where children will often play with substitutes like ‘ju-ju’ balls made from tying plastic bags together since regular footballs – if they can get hold of them – wear out quickly because they are not designed to be played on resource-poor terrain.
However, with sOccket, these children get a high-quality, ultra-durable soccer ball that is only 140g heavier than a regular one. It is impossible to deflate and apparently has a three-year-plus lifespan meaning it can be passed down from sibling to sibling. What’s more, it’s eco-friendly being made with 95 per cent recycled material.
But how do these children end up getting their hands on a sOccket? Well, that’s where the likes of you and me come in. You buy a sOccket using the donate section of sOccket’s website, the sOccket team then coordinates with their partner organisations working in resource-poor communities and sends over the donated sOccket to be distributed to the child in need.
Donate $60 and a sOccket and a sOccket lamp will be shipped for free to a deserving family.
So far, the sOccket has made its way to Haiti, South Africa and Nigeria while in Spain platinum-selling recording artist Huecco and his charity Fundación Dame Vida! (The Give Me Life! Foundation) have brought out a Dame Vida! version of the ball endorsed by the Spanish national soccer team who are, of course, the reigning World and European champions.
In the meantime, the team are in the process of creating a sOccket basketball, due out next year.
For more information and to donate, please visit http://www.soccket.com/