SOOCER BALL- ELECTRICITY GENERATION ( Another Epitome of Ingenuity)

Why I chose this topic ?

Science has always fascinated me. I choose topics which are novel yet unique, where simplicity and ingenuity are the icings on the cake. This topic is truly an epitome of simplicity. Whats even more intriguing is that how is it that a soccer ball which we have been playing for decades has not been thought in the way the inventors from the Harvard school have seen it. Let us analyse the rampant scale of the game of soccer better known as Football worldwide.

SOCCER ( Popularly known as Football ). Is it just a game or a Universal Language ?

Soccrer- A Universal Language.

 

Football is more than just a game in continents like Europe, Africa and Asia. It is more of a religion in various parts of Europe and Brazil. Players like Maradona and Ronaldo are worshipped till date.According to the latest statistical study from FIFA ( Federal International Football Association) about 265 million people play football worldwide [1]. This is almost four percent of the worlds population thus making it the largest played sport in the world [2]. In the United states alone about 8 million soccer balls are made each year. It is to note that Soccer is not popular in the United states. This shows the tremendous scope if we could generate electricity from each soccer ball worldwide.

How did the idea of SOccket Ball originate ?

Soccket Ball- The need of the hour.

Jessica Mathews one of the co-inventors of this technology is from Nigeria.[3] On sharing her experience with us she tells us that power cuts are frequent in Nigeria. Likewise there are millions of developing countries in the world where day to day electicity is a boon.  Their initial idea on designing electiricity generating through football stems from the need to provide power to the under previlaged through affordable ways. On understanding that football is a widely played sport even on the streets, she was fascinated and this paved the foundation for Soccketball ( the brandname for the football which produces electricity). The diesel engines still being used in Nigeria where alarming amounts of pollution were released was also a huge factor to this invention. From shared experiences, the Harvard team also came to realise the bitter truth that many children in the developing countries spent their evenings studying under candlelight, streetlight, or even worse, next to precarious expensive and eco-unfriendly kerosene lamps [4].

How SOckketBall Works- A Simple Concept Of Physics.

Simple High School Physics of the Soccketball.

The working of this ball stem from the simple concept of Faradays Laws of Electicity which all of us must have learnt in at some point of time during our High School. The ball is designed to have an internal inductive coil in its interior core. The kicking of the ball causes a motion kind of like an oscillating one. This motion even if it originates from a mild kick is significant from the physics standpoint. This Movement of the ball during playing forces a magnet through the coil that produces voltage which in turn is tapped throug a capacitor to store electricity. The generated electricity could be tapped if we are discharging this capacitor. You can then simply take the ball to home or to work and plug in a lamp to do work that you might otherwise struggle to do without a reliable and efficient light source. It’s pretty simple like yet extremely effective. The electiricity generated in the ball could be stored for weeks with not a very significant drop in the voltage.

A Video to Illustrate The Working Of The SOckketball .

Pricing of the Soccketball :

Last but not the least, let us discuss the economic aspect of this ball. The only add ons for this device are the magnets, coils and capacitors. These constitute more than 90 percent of the electronic equipment on board of the Soccketball. The cost of building this prototype of course is reasonably high as with any case. It costed close to 70$ [5] for manufacturing. However if manufactured in large scale the inventors from Harvard say they can hit the markets at affordable prices of just 10$. It is to note that a conventional ball could cost anywhere between 5-8$ [6] , thus making the Soccketball not very expensive from the conventional balls. The innnovative idea, affordable price and simplicity make the Soccketball truly more than an innovation of the year. It does has tremendous scope and am certain would reach Zenith’s height.

REFERENCES :

1. http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/fifafacts/bcoffsurv/emaga_9384_10704.pdf

2. http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/fifafacts/bcoffsurv/emaga_9384_10704.pdf

3. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120614-dawn-of-a-new-footballing-power

4.  http://www.nutmegradio.com/soccket-the-energy-producing-soccer-ball-takes-the-next-step-in-development/

5. http://matadornetwork.com/sports/the-soccer-ball-that-powers-homes/

6. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070725164151AAASDdT

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One response to “SOOCER BALL- ELECTRICITY GENERATION ( Another Epitome of Ingenuity)

  1. This is a very interesting product that I had not heard about prior to your post. As the Harvard researchers pointed out, this could offer children, and adults, convenience and cost savings by providing light that is essentially free. I believe that the target consumer for this product in poor countries would have difficulty acquiring this soccer ball due to its higher price. It seems that the best way to distribute these balls is through donations and aid efforts. Therefore, it seems that there would be quite a challenge to find the funding to produce and distribute these soccer balls around the world. In addition, the villages and communities where these would be used sometimes only have one or two soccer balls for everyone. This could cause tensions between those who get to take the ball home at night and those that do not. There is also the question of understanding. Many people that are in the demographic for this ball would have difficulty understanding how to use the light. Therefore some instruction would need to go along with distribution. It would be interesting to see what other uses beside light could be found for the low energy density source.

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