These Toys Are emPOWERing... Literally. #LightBulbMoment
Nearly 1.2 billion people — almost one-fifth of humanity — lack access to reliable electricity. A staggering statistic. Jessica O. Matthews is a hop, skip, & a jump away from creating a solution... Uncharted Play!
During a trip to Nigeria to visit family, Jessica noticed two things - the lack of electricity & football. Well, soccer, here in the states. Don't get it twisted though, soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world.
Uncharted Play started as a class project while Matthews was attending Harvard University as an undergraduate student in 2008 & turned into a full-fledged social enterprise company!
"The company makes 'play' products — at the moment, soccer balls and jump ropes — that collect kinetic energy and come equipped with an outlet in which electronics can be directly plugged. In turn, the entire process of powering through play educates consumers about how kinetic energy may provide a viable solution to the world's energy crisis." It's so simple, it's genius!
"The two products currently on the market include the SOCCKET and the PULSE, an energy-harnessing soccer ball and jump rope. More products are in the works, and improvements and modifications of the existing ones, including updated colors and more, will arrive later this year."
"The products work through a hybrid system that harnesses four different types of energy: rotational, motor-based energy, which relies on spinning, turning or rotating motion; vibrational energy; inductive coils that incorporate conductive, magnetic materials in such a way that creates electricity; and thermoelectric energy created by rubbing, heat-producing movements. The soccer ball, for example, primarily relies on rotational energy — when the ball spins, a mechanism within the device harnesses the rotational energy, which is then stored in the ball's rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Both products contain embedded outlets, so once enough energy has been collected through, say, a half-hour soccer scrimmage or jump rope session, users can plug their electronics directly into the soccer ball. Minutes of play translate into hours of electricity." INCREDIBLE!
"With every purchase of a SOCCKET or PULSE product, Uncharted Play provides a play system to a child in Nigeria, Mexico, Costa Rica or El Salvador. Soon, this "one-for-one" business model — part of the Impact Line of products — will launch as a "one-for-ten" model, in which each purchase will provide play systems for ten children, or an entire classroom. Each play product comes equipped with a lantern that can be plugged directly into the ball or jump rope, meaning that playtime translates to hours of light for kids and families in need.
Additionally, Uncharted Play is involved with a STEM curriculum, Think Out of Bounds. The five-part course, led by trained teachers, helps educate students about renewable energy and inspires invention through use and demonstrations of the company's products.
To date, more than 50,000 SOCCKET and PULSE products have sold, primarily in Latin America and Africa. Matthews now hopes to turn consumer attention to the U.S. market, and to millennials and parents who want to teach their kids not only about renewable, sustainable energy, but also about global issues — and, additionally, revive the back-to-basics tradition of kicking around a ball outside instead of sitting on a couch immersed in a video game or screen.
"If you want to get people to recycle, make it make sense to recycle and people will do it," says Matthews, who uses this mindset when it comes to developing products for Uncharted Play. "If we design products and systems that make it easier for people to do good, people will do good. By designing a product that people already want to use because it's a play product, it makes it easier for people to engage with sustainable energy."
New releases, products and initiatives are coming soon; learn more about Uncharted Play's impact and mission here."