This social enterprise is off the charts for its innovation of simple resources to provide a complex solution. Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman founded Uncharted Play in 2011 with the goal of using the power of play to create solutions to real world problems. Based out of New York City, that’s just what these two inspiring women are doing.
Their first invention was created while they were students at Harvard College. A class project led the two social science majors to conceptualize the SOCCKET, a soccer ball that would harness energy as it was kicked around.
“Through this experience, both women realized that the world of play was truly uncharted territory when it came to tangibly addressing real issues facing the society,” Uncharted Play’s website reads. “Though the future was uncertain, they knew that an enterprise grounded in sustainable, realistic solutions for happiness had an undeniable value.”
The potential for good is incredible with the SOCCKET, and we imagine that future projects will bring similar value to the world. Children and adults in developing nations can now provide themselves with free, clean energy—and just by kicking the ball around a bit.
It’s simple: as the ball rolls around, a tiny battery inside begins charging up. At maximum charge—about 16 hours of play—it can power an LED light for 72 hours. But it doesn’t have to be fully charged to work. Just thirty minutes of play can power the light for up to 3 hours—which is huge for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where fewer than a quarter of the people have access to reliable electricity.
The SOCCKET weighs just two ounces more than a normal soccer ball, and has a foam core instead of a traditional air-filled bladder. That makes it more durable than standard soccer balls as well.
Playing is a universal concept that all kids understand—no matter where they are from, kids will be kids. Hand them a soccer ball, and they’ll know what to do with it. And when they see that soccer ball power a light later that night, they’ll be even more excited to get playing.