Ariel Schwartz passes along an intriguing new idea for providing light in the developing world:
Jessica Matthews, the co-founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, was an undergraduate at Harvard when she and a handful of other students came up with a simple yet brilliant idea: make soccer, a popular pastime in many developing (and developed) nations, a useful activity.
The Soccket, a soccer ball that generates and stores electricity during game play, was born in 2009. The ball was immediately a hit. For every 30 minutes of play, the ball can juice up an LED lamp for three hours, cutting down on toxic kerosene lamp use. Just plug an LED lamp into the light, and voila, free energy.
Simon Martin thinks the idea has legs:
The concept of Designing for the Other 90% has been coming up more frequently in recent years…especially with the ease of putting your product out there and funding through crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter. However the challenge for raising these funds has usually been centered around creating a product that will not only be effective for those needing aid, but also a product that is just as relevant or has a place in ‘the 10%’ world as well … With soccer (or football, futball, etc depending on where you are) being the most popular sport in the world, this is perhaps one of the most versatile and accessible design directions towards approaching the underlying problem of bringing energy to resource-poor communities.