There are obviously some people out there who think that soccer balls aren’t doing enough. Earlier this year, we told you about the sOccket, a ball that generates power as it gets kicked around. Now, word comes to us of soccer ball prototypes with built-in solar panels. Where the black pentagonal sections would normally be, these balls instead have custom-designed panels that gather energy as they bask in the sun. That energy is used for running onboard motion sensors, and audio devices that emit a tracking sound whenever the balls are kicked. It is hoped that this sort of technology could be used to allow visually-impaired people to play soccer in the future.
Greendix, a company that specializes in custom solar applications, designed the balls to challenge peoples’ notions of where and how solar panels can be used. “These solar footballs were created to celebrate the current World Cup and demonstrate that solar panels can be integrated into objects such as balls,” said Joseph Lin, President of Greendix. “The main goal of this project was to prove that solar panels can be integrated into any object that we interact with on a daily basis and to push the limits of what is possible with solar panels.”
While the balls themselves are not seeing production anytime soon, their pentagon-shaped panels are already available to consumers, along with four other non-traditional shapes. Distribution is being handled by Sonelis Technologies.
It would be interesting to see a game played with one of these balls, not only to determine how well the panels could stand up to direct kicks, but also to find out if the balls actually suffice for playing soccer.