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Energy-Harnessing Soccer Ball | Innovation Nation


sometimes the extraordinary is masked in the ordinary take the humble soccer ball for example when 26 year old
inventor Jessica O Matthews got a hold of it you could say it became a thing of
magic located in New York City I met up with Jessica to find out more about one
very bright idea she came up with a special kind of soccer ball called the
Soccket and it creates the magic of battery-powered light where it’s needed
most can you tell me a little bit about what this does sure so this is a
energy-generating soccer ball designed for the developing world essentially
it’s an airless ball so that means that it doesn’t deflate it doesn’t need to be
inflated it just is inside of the ball at the core there’s a mechanism that
actually harnesses the kinetic energy that’s the energy of motion that
actually is generated during play and then stores that power inside the ball
so you can use it as an off-grid power source a light plugs into a hidden panel
on the ball and daytime play powers nighttime living and learning so
basically what’s happening is we’re harnessing the rotational energy so as
the ball is rolling around the field we have a mechanism that is actually
rolling with it and with that you have this pendulum that’s turning basically
you can kind of hear it it sounds like a little happy mouse exactly the pendulum is turning the motor which
is then powering up the rechargeable lithium ion battery and that’s what’s
storing up all the power it’s actually transferring the kinetic energy into
electricity so then when you’re ready to go you would just plug it right in and
now you have an LED light that can last for how long one hour of play can give
you up to three hours of LED light Jessica’s invention was inspired when
she made two key observations one she saw a very serious lack of access to
sustainable power making studying at night nearly impossible and two she
noticed that despite difficult living conditions children seemed transported
when playing soccer happy and carefree and so Jessica’s work on
the Soccket began seven years ago when she and her co-founder were students at
Harvard always working to perfect the ball the Soccket is now on its seventh
generation and on this day is undergoing some impromptu and fun impact testing
and it passed with flying colors Jessica has seen firsthand how kids
worldwide not only take to the soccer ball but to the idea of innovation the
light from the Soccket is giving them an opportunity to read to learn to be inspired and so in addition to the soccer ball she and her team also
created a curriculum which gets kids involved in the invention process and so
I thought if we could take all this confidence and this creativity and all
this passion and harness it literally and figuratively and actually create
something that didn’t just provide immediate fun but could actually create
that spark that would get people to feel like they could create the world that
they want while light from the Soccket illuminates the pages of school books
after dark it also has switched on a light of
possibility in many young minds

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