Markets in everything there is no great stagnation

by on March 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm in Sports | Permalink

The sOccket harnesses the kinetic (motion) energy of the soccer ball during normal game play and stores it for later power needs. After play, small electrical appliances, like an LED lamp, can be plugged into the sOccket. Learn more about our first mass-produced sOccket on our blog.

The web page, with lots of pictures, is here.  It’s not just free energy, one goal is to prevent so many people from dying from kerosene lamps.

For the pointer I thank Brent Depperschmidt.

1 Rahul March 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Who gets to carry the light home? Will the winning team members fight it out?

2 Mark Thorson March 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I doubt this will be popular. The energy it taps is subtracted from the game play. It will be like kicking a bean bag.

3 Mitch March 22, 2012 at 8:11 am

But that’s at least partially offset by your newfound activity of commiserating with your teammates about your knee injuries.

4 Sigivald March 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

The goal is noble, but I think a hand/foot-crank generator and battery combo is likely to be less “cool” and much more “effective”.

They seem to acknowledge that with their graphic talking about it being “a symbol of empowerment” and the goal of “shedding light on the global energy crisis” and “showing how problem solving can be fun”.

It might be nicer if they were less concerned with symbolism and awareness-raising and focused more on solving problems without the expense and waste of the former, or “cool ideas” like this that are less efficient than the boring solutions.

(Rahul: “Everyone shares the happiness”, it says! So because of the magic of symbolism and awareness raising, it just magically works for all the families. And I hope the kids still love their soccer playing when the parents demand they play for that half an hour every three hours, regardless of weather, to Make Light For The Family.

Seriously, though. Cranks. Cranks work, they’re a million times [figuratively] more efficient…)

5 zbicyclist March 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Some local groups fit old bicycles out for generation of power or for working water pumps. A bicycle is just a crank you can sit down and operate with your feet.

6 Jonathan March 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

It weighs 5 oz. more than a normal soccer ball, which for kids weigh 12-13 oz. Kids will be kicking a ball that’s 40% too heavy. Additionally it takes its energy from the deformation of the ball, so the ball won’t rebound as well off the foot (it’ll feel dead). I bet the ball would probably travel about half as fast as a normal soccer ball. Sounds like a pretty boring game.

7 Daniel Dostal March 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Consider it a training ball. Imagine how much more popular this could make soccer in poor countries.

8 Tom West March 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Um, perhaps we might consider what the children are currently using for soccer balls before we decide that anything less than perfection won’t be acceptable. If the web site is accurate, durability is perhaps more important as long as the ball works better than plastic bags tied together.

9 Rahul March 23, 2012 at 2:17 am

Which leads me to think it would have been lovely if they had stopped at the point they designed a more durable ball.

10 Jon Murphy March 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Well, if that ain’t brilliant.

11 Davis March 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm

a kerosene lamp is worth 40 cigarettes a day? is there actual scientific evidence for that? 40 cigarettes is enormous. is that over 1 pollutant/health risk or all?

12 Doc Merlin March 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm

40 cigs? thats hard to believe.

13 Sigivald March 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I suppose it depends on what they’re measuring. If it’s “negative health effect’, I think it’s plausible, if not certain.

A cheap kerosene lamp tends to be sooty and nasty – and breathing in fine carbon soot is not especially good for the lungs, nor are the vapors pleasant, especially in an enclosed space – and naturally if it’s cold out you want as little ventilation as you can stand, to trap that lamp’s heat.

It passes the giggle test, though I can’t vouch for its accuracy. Call it plausible at least at the level of “being stuck with a cheap kerosene lamp is actually bad for your health”, if not “as bad as two packs a day smoking”. (I confess I would not be terribly surprised to find it demonstrably so.)

14 Rahul March 23, 2012 at 2:16 am

Imagine living in a country where cholera, malaria, dysentery and a hundred other ailments hound you. Would you really care for a $50 miracle lamp that saves you one lamp’s worth of soot breathing? (bear in mind that this cannot replace _all_ the lamps in the house)

15 Tom Davies March 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm

This sounds like those “village pumps operated by merry-go-rounds” which were actually built and turned out to be a bad idea.

16 wiki March 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

More evidence of the Great Stagnation. This is markets in empty symbolism.

17 Daniel Dostal March 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Only if it fails.

18 Rahul March 22, 2012 at 1:47 am

Apparantly it costs about $50. Do they realize this is about the monthly per capita income of most nations they target.

19 Sigivald March 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Possibly – note that they’re not suggesting locals buy them.

Much like the symbolic-failure ULPC project, they’re asking first world moral posers to buy them as “donations” to poor people.

(I go back to my previous post and suggest more good, if less “look how cool we are”, would come from letting people buy a donation of a hand/foot-crank generator and battery combo.

It’d be more useful and more efficient and probably cheaper.

But less useful for posturing in the first world.)

20 Andrew' March 22, 2012 at 4:30 am

Aren’t the comparison balls we are talking about dung balls wrapped in ox scrotum?

That said, a USB soccer ball in such a culture is insanity.

21 C March 22, 2012 at 9:57 am

I hate to by a cynic but I’m with Rahul. I tend to think that upon reception the target audience would say thank you and then sell it either as a whole or in pieces and use the money to buy kerosene. It may well be that that’s not even an irrational decision.

22 Anonymous March 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

“Apparantly it costs about $50.”

And from the website, “30 minutes of play = 3 Hours of powerful LED light.”

OK, at 10 cents/kw-hr (retail rate), fifty bucks gets you 500 kw-hr. Which for a 2 watt led lamp is 250,000 hours of light.

So that’s about 41,667 hours of play, or almost 20 man-years (at 40 hrs/week, with 2 week vacation).

Of course, if the LED light is only 1 watt, that doubles the amount of “play.” What fun!

23 ED March 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Keep in mind that electricity is much more expensive in these countries, and if not available at all, there are very high fixed costs for implementing them, etc…

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