This is the kind of technology I really enjoy writing about and like to see coming out of brilliant young minds. What I didn't write in the story but maybe should've mentioned is that Harvard students came up with the idea, but it was a push from Bill Clinton, who heard about it from one of the inventors when she spoke at something he sponsored, who pushed them to commercialize it. I'm glad he did. We really need people thinking like this to help make positive changes in the world. What we take for granted could really mean a lot to someone who is not as advantaged.
I think something like this is great for anybody and not just people or countries with energy poverty. Imagine just having it around for charging your phone after a game or having a light when walking back to your car after a game. But one question I have is would a country like North Korea jail anyone with possesion of the ball? I think in my case I would like to see it come in a basketball.
Yes, that was another point that I didn't mention in the story, but also it could be good for many practical applications for anyone, which is why they are doing the Kickstarter campaign. Alison even shared a story of when she was at a music festival and needed to charge her iPhone and wished she'd had a SOCCKET to do so. I myself go camping a lot and find myself out of battery for my devices all the time. I have a charger in my VW van but it saps the van's battery. so I don't like to use it too much. A SOCCKET would be perfect. I'm sure this technology can be applicable to all sorts of playing balls in the future.
What a great way to call attention to energy harvesting. It's also interesting that the developers are involved in a Kickstarter program. We're seeing Kickstarter get mentioned a lot these days. Just in the past few days I've heard it mentioned in a breathalyzer application for iPhones and in a new electronic basketball (we'll have an article about that one in the next few days).
@robatnorcross: Actually, it's assembled in the U.S., and is intended for distribution in the developing world. Did you even read the article? It's a actually a neat idea. It's not an April Fools joke; Popular Mechanics covered it in 2010, and the BBC covered it last year. I think it's a creative concept, and one that makes a lot of sense.
At first, I figured this was going to be easy to make fun of...people who don't have electricity now have a means to charge their phones. ???
Practially, though, a means to sterilize water would have a huge impact on many people. For us with a limitless supply of safe water at our fingertips, it's had to imagine many people have no safe water or any means to make it safe. Being able to charge a Steri-pen or equivalent would be a leap forward.
This is an obvious hoax. The device harvests rotational energy by interaction with a gyro which freely rotates inside the ball? What powers the gyro? 6 watts? How long can it output 6 watts? How long to purify a cup of water at room temperature with 6 watts? As for emergency light with energy harvesting, I have a LED flashlight with a crank generator that requires just a few turns to run for at least 15 minutes. Much more practical than playing soccer in the dark to recharge a ball, then plug in the light. It also is small enough to fit in a pocket or a desk drawer, not so with a soccer ball. As for this not being a hoax since it has been shown in the media already, since when can we assume that this does not mean it is a hoax?
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
With major product releases coming from big names like Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung, and big investments by companies like Facebook, 2015 could be the year that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) finally pop. Here's take a look back at some of the technologies that got us here (for better and worse).
Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.