When the sun goes down many developing countries rely upon dangerous kerosene lamps, which emit hazardous fumes and generate 190 million metric tons of CO2 each year. Seeking an eco-friendly alternative to this trend, four Harvard engineering students developed the Soccket – a soccer ball that generates and stores electricity during play. Soccer is found in just about every African country, so the energy-generating ball has great potential to encourage healthy activity while producing clean electricity to light up the night.

sustainable design, green design, soccket ball, alternative energy, renewable energy, social design, humanitarian design, energy generating soccer ball, kinetic energyPhoto from Soccket’s study of soccer play in Nairobi, Kenya

The Soccket was designed for use in off-grid areas where electricity for interior lighting and charging cell phones is hard to come by. The ball works by capturing kinetic energy through an inductive coil mechanism, which works in a similar manner to those flashlights that are powered by shaking. As the ball is batted about, it draws a magnet through a coil, creating current that is stored in a battery.

According to the designers, the device weighs little more than a standard soccer ball, and 15 minutes of play produces enough energy to illuminate a small LED for three hours. The students are planning to use a buy-one-give-one model (similar to the BoGo light) to distribute the devices, selling them in western markets to subsidize their distribution to those in need.

Here at Inhabitat we’re huge fans of designs that benefit communities, cut down on carbon emissions, and enable developing nations. The Soccket does all of that and brings fun into the mix by tapping the boundless energy of kids at play.

+ Soccket

Via Green Inc.

Lead photo: Soccket prototype from pilot study in Durban, South Africa