While touring the Umbungo Symbion Power Plant with Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete on Tuesday, U.S. president Barack Obama got a demonstration of the Soccket ball, which stores and generates renewable, off-the-grid electrical power when kicked.
The president is correct to use the universal language of soccer, or football as most of the world calls it, to promote clean energy across the developing world. What better way to connect to young Africans then through the global game?
The Soccket ball was invented by Harvard University graduates Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, and contains a pendulum-like mechanism inside that creates kinetic energy when the ball is kicked around that is stored. According to the manufacturers at Uncharted Play, it can power an LED lamp for three hours from 30 minutes of play.
After Obama displayed his athletic skills that are usually reserved for the basketball court, the ball that was kicked and headed around was used to charge a cell phone.
Obama said his administration is distributing the balls across Africa as part of an initiative to double developing nations’ access to clean, portable energy. The initiative follows up on his recent climate change action speech in which he stated the United States would help developing nations grow and prosper without using cheap, dirty energy that is contributing to global warming and pollution.
Sports can unite people like nothing else, and with the way the world embraces soccer, why not teach developing nations about using clean energy while kicking it?
“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Obama in a speech as he prepares to return to the States from his three-country trip to Africa. “The Soccket turns one of the most popular games in Africa into a source of electricity and progress. You can imagine this in villages all across the continent.”