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Entrepreneur Creates Soccer Balls That Generate Energy As You Play

By Desirée Kaplan

Reliable electricity is still a luxury in many developing countries. Over a billion people around the world do not have access to stable energy sources. Many of those who do not have energy rely on power sources like diesel generators or kerosene lamps which often pollute the air and cause health problems. Tech entrepreneur Jessica O. Matthews decided to create an off-grid solution, so she invented a technology that harnesses kinetic energy and produces clean power. 

During a trip to Nigeria to attend her aunt’s wedding, the power went out at the event and back up generators were used. Due to faulty infrastructure, her family and the people in that area were accustomed to losing power several times a day. Matthews realized that the toxic fumes the generators emitted were a dangerous part of life for many people living in areas with spotty energy systems.  

This experience with unstable energy stuck with Matthews, and she found a solution while attending Harvard. It was there that she invented the Soccket, a soccer ball which can harness energy and power a lamp after about one hour of play. Through this idea, Matthews found a fun way to create motion which would offer an off the grid power source. After she graduated Harvard, Matthews focused on harnessing clean power through kinetic energy based products and founded her company Uncharted Play in New York City.