Four enterprising women from Cambridge, MA have developed a pretty clever gadget that is currently in beta testing in the United States and in Africa. It is called SOccket, a plug-in soccer ball that captures energy during play and stores the juice for later use as a power source. The idea behind sOccket is to give a kid in a developing nation a ball that can be used in a game of soccer after school, then brought home, and used to power a basic lamp to do homework—even if there are no buildings with electricity for 100 miles around. The ball uses an inductive coil mechanism similar to those found in shake-to-charge flashlights. Less than 10 minutes of play can power an LED light for three hours.
Under the right circumstances this ball could be pretty useful, a light or radio when you are completely off of the grid is definitely handy and according to the website it can be used to charge a cell phone. Though it should be pointed out that cell phone reception would be sketchy at best 100 miles from an electricity source. Either way it is probably safe to say that we won’t be using soccer balls to replace coal or oil fired generators in the near future, but this gadget can certainly be listed under the cool idea category.