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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.
Have you ever heard the expression "a ball of energy"? People often use the term to describe very active children. But today we tell about an invention called the sOccket, that is a real ball of energy. A woman who developed the sOccket calls it, a cutting-edge, portable generator in the form of a soccer ball. Julia Silverman developed the sOccket with Jessica Matthews as part of a group project for an engineering class at Harvard University.
To better understand what a sOccket is, you first need to understand how it works. When you play with a ball, a lot of energy is transferred, or moves, to the ball. Julia Silverman says the sOccket captures this energy before it is lost or breaks up into the environment. Her invention attempts to capture the energy, and then store it for future use.
The sOccket collects and stores this energy with every kick, hit or throw of the ball. Julia Silverman says users can connect small electrical devices, like a light, directly into the ball.
For every fifteen minutes of game play, the sOccket can provide enough electricity to power an LED lamp for up to three hours. The ball can store up to twenty-four hours' worth of power.
The International Energy Association reported last year that nearly one and a half billion people did not have access to electricity. Most of them live in India, other Asian nations and in Africa, south of the Sahara.
Julia Silverman and Jessica Matthews both had experience in developing countries before they began the project. They knew that power shortages are a serious problem in many areas.
Julia Silverman says there is an energy crisis in the world. She notes that one in every five people does not have any electricity. And, there are health issues because those with no electricity may use devices like kerosene lamps, which can produce a lot of smoke. Ms. Silverman says the sOccket is one small solution to a big problem.
Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman have started a nonprofit organization called Uncharted Play. They hope their sOccket ball will shine more light on the problem of power shortages. It offers people a chance to put their energy into the world's most popular sport and get some energy in return.