Have you ever heard of a Soccket? It’s a soccer ball that harnesses and stores energy that can later be used as portable power. It delivers an LED light for three hours on just 30 minutes of playing time. In resource-poor areas, the Soccket will be able to bring light when needed.
It is the first project from a new company called Uncharted Play, Incorporated.
It was created in 2008 by a group of undergrads at Harvard University--Jessica Lin, Julia Silverman, Jessica Matthews, and Hemali Thakkar. Harvard graduate Aviva Presser was also part of the collection of inventors. In 2010, the first prototypes of the ball debuted.
Matthews and Silverman went on to form New York-based Uncharted Play and launched a mass-produced version of the ball. “We founded Uncharted Play as a for-profit enterprise to not only have a platform to execute our ideas around functional ways to play a sport but also as a social tool and a way to show other budding entrepreneurs that social enterprise can be an option, too,” says Matthews.
According to Matthews, the pair funded the company using their entire grad school savings; they also borrowed funds from family members. The ball caught the attention of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is part of the Clinton Foundation and convenes global leaders to develop and implement innovative solutions to some of the pressing problems in the world. Among the first nations where the Soccket will be distributed are Nigeria and Haiti. “The response has been amazing! We have been so honored to have received such amazing press and accolades from people like President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton,” says Matthews.
It costs the company about $90 to manufacture them. Uncharted Play reaches out to corporations to fund distribution of the ball in poor countries. The ball does double duty—encouraging sports and exercises while creating kinetic energy.
“I actually think sports and play are important at every age,” notes Matthews. “Play allows us to be curious--to test our ideas out in the world in a safe atmosphere. It leads to improved creativity and confidence -- critical skills not only for the people leading the world now, but to the next generation that will take us into the future.”
Uncharted Play is looking to expand their outreach. The organization’s goal is to reach $150,000 on Kickstarter; these funds will allow them to design the cell phone charger adapter for the Soccket.