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Bright Idea: Innovative Soccer Ball Doubles As Battery


Two Harvard University graduates have helped create a soccer ball that does more than light up a scoreboard.  The sOccket is a soccer ball that stores the energy generated during normal game play for later power needs. The ball can power a lamp or small electrical appliance, which could fill a critical need in the developing world.

For instance, an LED lamp can be plugged into the sOccket after the ball has been played with, to provide light for reading and other activities after dark in underdeveloped countries.

Inventors Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, who met as undergraduates and worked together on a group project that produced the concept of the sOccket, made their ball with 95 percent recyclable materials to ensure a 15-year lifespan. The soccer ball has earned numerous awards and won praise from former president Bill Clinton.

Matthews and Silverman recently expanded their efforts by launching Uncharted Play, a zero-profit social enterprise focused on the development of fun products and services that address real-world problems. Through Uncharted Play, the two social entrepreneurs have transformed the sOccket project from an exercise in innovative design to a full-fledged effort to serve those in need worldwide.

In September, a limited number of the energy-storing soccer balls will be auctioned off to benefit resource-poor children around the world. For every $50 increment that is bid on one of the sOcckets, another ball is donated to a child in need.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.