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Football that captures energy could help power developing countries

June 18, 2012 - London

A new football that captures energy created when it is kicked and transforms it later into electricity, is all set to help provide a power solution for developing countries.

Named as the Soccket, the revolutionary ball builds up enough energy to power a light for three hours from just 30 minutes of play.

The invention is made from materials found in developing countries and costs only slightly more than a normal high end ball to produce.

Bill Clinton described the concept, which was the brainchild of Harvard students Jessica Lin, Julia Silverman, Jessica Matthews, Hemali Thakkaras and Aviva Presser, as 'extraordinary'.

"It's an off-grid solution that gives us a way to bring power and improved quality of life, working capacity and learning capacity," the Daily Mail quoted Clinton as saying.

The idea combines football, the world's most popular sport, with the huge need for electricity in developing countries - a staggering one in five people around the globe are without power.

The ball, whose trial has been held in South Africa, is waterproof, durable and doesn't need to be inflated. It uses inductive coil technology, which involves having a metal coil and magnetic slug that goes forwards and backwards.

Silverman and Matthews have gone on to develop the mass-produced version of the ball through their own non-profit company Unchartered Play.

In many developing countries, reliance on kerosene lamps has led to numerous health problems.

The World Bank estimates that breathing the fumes created from burning kerosene indoors equates to the harmful effect of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

The special ball can currently be used with an ac adaptor but the designers hope this will be expanded in the future to enable other products to be charged by it.

Their initial inspiration came from hi-tech dance floors, which can capture energy from dancers' movements.

"The idea was come together and using art and science pick an issue and try to make it better," Matthews said.

"We started to think about the time we'd spent overseas and we'd all had this similar experience of seeing kids play. These kids aren't allowed to be children for very long. They have to deal with very serious issues in their lives every single day.

"Sometimes giving these kids the ball before we even show them the power generation part is such an amazing thing because they have a ball which doesn't require inflation - you are telling them that the tooth fairy does exist," she added.

Silverman further said that apart from noticing the universal love for soccer they also noticed the huge market for safe, sustainable immediate power access.


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