"Bending it like Beckham" with soccer balls harnesses kinetic energy

Soccket Ball
Credit: Via Inhabitat

Throw a ball in the midst of children (and a fair amount of adults) just about anywhere in the world and they are going to play with it. Some Harvard alumni thought it would be a great idea if somehow you could harness the power generated by that playtime to create a power source for underserved areas. The result is a special soccer ball that harvests the kinetic energy generated by kicking the ball to power a small LED lamp.

The surprisingly simple concept behind turning play into power uses a pendulum inside the ball to gather the energy of the movement of the ball to turn a generator connected to a rechargeable battery. The "Soccket Ball" can generate three hours of electrical power from 30 minutes of soccer play.

A ball that acts like a portable generator sounds like it could be a delicate item but the inventors at Uncharted Play have created it from deflation-proof, water-resistant EVA foam. This thing is meant to take some hard kicks and serious play in order to kick out some light.

The ball has been in the prototype phase for a year and has been piloted in low-income areas in North and South America. The team at Uncharted Play have been turning out a few hundred balls a week, but have launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to help them  purchase additional equipment and amp up production. Pledges are open until March  28.

Fun? Check. Eco-friendly? Check. Useful? Check. With this unique soccer ball there has never been a better reason for parents to give their kids an extra few minutes to chase the ball and bend it like Beckham.

Uncharted Play/Kickstarter, via Inhabitat, Techcrunch