SOCCKET harvests and generates a modest 6W of energy. “In Mexico, for example, people have been replacing candlelight with SOCCKET, and that is offsetting the household income they were dedicating to buying candles,” Smith said.
The Mexican pilot program was put in place in collaboration with the Mexican television network Televisa. It’s one of several business partners Uncharted Play has worked with -- Western Union and State Farm among them -- who pay for the fabrication of the SOCCKETs.
The company is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 to bring SOCCKETS to the retail market. Uncharted Play plans to use the funds to inject automation into the fabrication process to meet retail needs. “Right now all of the SOCCKETs are hand assembled,” Smith told us. “We want to buy a robotic arm to increase the pace.”
SOCCKET is not meant to solve the energy poverty problem, but merely to call attention to it and provide an interim solution people deprived of electricity can use now, according to Smith. In the future the company hopes the soccer ball, which has universal appeal, can be used as a development model for other ways to harvest energy and provide affordable energy solutions to those that need it.
“One of the really cool things we found is that because soccer is a universal sport and so popular, people who wouldn’t read an article about energy poverty or disparity are interested in reading about a soccer ball that produces energy,” said Smith. “It brings in people who aren’t necessarily interested in these development issues and starts to get their brains thinking.”
I like the bicycle idea. Along the same lines, my wife has a hand-cranked flashlight that uses. You never need to worry about batteries or solar charge, just crank the flashlight up any time you need it.
I was thinking of the bicycle generator as well, Designist. It seems to be a mode of transportation that is available even in some of the inaccessible areas and probably has the potential to produce a lot more energy.
I do, however, like the soccer ball idea. With multiple, removable batteries you could take care of some (very basic) needs. Since full charge seems to be attained after only 30 minutes, a few more batteries could easily be charged during an average set of play time.
My thoughts are similar to Tim's, since I live in the rainy, windy tall redwood tree forest where we have regular power outages. While I'd rather not have to kick a soccer ball to harvest energy, I bet the basic technology could be adapted to a more home-friendly power source. Why not a stationary exercise-type bicycle?
Now that is a good idea as well, the Designist. Uncharted Play came up with this idea because it is something fairly inexpensive and universal (nearly every country in the world plays soccer, and it really is a the main sport of the less-develped world). But bicycles also are very popular in similar regions, so you've hit on something. With all the progress being made in energy harvesting, perhaps that will be next. Thanks for your comment.
Hi, Corona, yes, Uncharted Play seems to be thinking of things that could actually be worthwhile to people living in underdeveloped regions, but also of applications for people who already have access to electricity. I think this product could have broad appeal. But of course, helping providing access to electricity in areas where it's limited is certainly the focus at the moment.
Yes, making the kids exercise to generate the electricity needed to power their electronic devices can also promote fitness (I say this tongue-in-cheek). Now every kid will be able to earn the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
Yes, this is real, as you said, Dave. Some students at Purdue a few years ago developed a tile floor that's being used in an airport to generate very tiny amounts of current. Every time someone steps on a tile and it bends, the system harvests some energy from the flexure of the floor. And, yes, it's real.
Why not just use coconuts and a bicycle, like the professor did on Gilligan's Island?
Joking aside, a bicycle with a generator would be more efficient, and importantly more practical. Efficiency also exposes that energy conservation can not be overcome with fads. Just my humble opinion.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.