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Here’s a bright idea for a Third World soccer ball

The SOCCKET is an energy harnessing soccer ball.

Soccer could just be the way to light up the world – literally.

Uncharted Play, a "for-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving lives through play," according to the U.S. company's website, has developed a soccer ball that doubles as a portable generator. Dubbed the SOCCKET, the ball features a "pendulum-like mechanism" inside that captures the kinetic energy generated during play and stores it for later use. A mere 30-minute game generates enough power to light an LED lamp for three hours, according to Uncharted Play. For the 1.6 billion people in the world who live without electricity, the SOCCKET could provide a novel power source.

The waterproof, non-inflatable ball is made of foam rubber and weights 17 ounces, just over one ounce heavier than a regulation FIFA ball.

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Uncharted Play is currently running a campaign on Kickstarter to raise $75,000 (U.S.) in order to increase the number of balls it can produce. The money will be used to hire more staff, purchase tools and equipment and automate elements of the assembly process.

The company also has a "stretch goal" of $150,000. If that much is raised, it promises to offer an emergency cellphone charger that can connect to the ball. With seven days of fundraising left the company has already raised $79,426.

Uncharted Play's co-founders, Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman, were undergraduates at Harvard when they developed the idea for the ball.

In 2010, the SOCCKET won the Next Generation Award at Popular Mechanics magazine's Breakthrough Awards, which recognize products and innovators that are "poised to change the world," according to the magazine.

The SOCCKET is currently in use in Mexico and "economically disadvantaged areas of the United States," according to Uncharted Play.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More


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