There has been a ton of lip service this year paid to the lack of women in technology. There have even been those who have questioned, “why do we even NEED more women, or diversity, in tech at all?”

For the answer, look no further than the four women engineers behind sOccket. A soccer ball with a magnetic slug inside it, that collects power as you kick it.

“The movement of the ball forces a magnet through a coil that induces a voltage to generate electricity [4].”

Fifteen minutes of play can generate three hours of light from the ball. In the developing world, 25% of children do not have electricity. It’s even worse in Africa, where up to 95% of the population lives without access to electricity, according to a 2006 World Bank Millennium Goals Report.

Lack of electricity often leads to a heavy reliance on kerosene lamps. But the World Bank estimates that breathing the fumes from burning kerosene indoors is as bad for your health as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day [3].

Enter sOccket. First created during an engineering class in 2008 where the four women met, their initial prototype led to a project that feeds all of their passions.

Their diverse backgrounds had a common thread. All understand well the need for clean energy in developing nations:

“A first-generation Nigerian-American, Matthews has seen the need for clean, reliable energy during numerous family trips to Nigeria. Lin has taught in South Africa for WorldTeach and interned with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s SafeWater System in Kenya. Silverman has been to South Africa to work for a HIV/tuberculosis clinic with The Institute of Politics, a Harvard undergraduate organization. And Thakkar, a first-generation Indian American, has volunteered for nonprofit organizations in India.” [4]

Best of all, Lin, Matthews, Silverman and Thakkar show no signs of slowing down:

“A future version should hold enough juice—3.7 volts at a capacity of 600 milliamp hours—to charge a basic cellphone. The women partnered with a manufacturer in Cape Town and hope to subsidize developing-world discounts with sales in the U.S. [1]”

And make sure to watch their recent interview on CNN!

If there was ever any doubt in your mind why it matters that tech and engineering become more diverse, let this be your answer. Thank you, team sOccket, for everything you’re doing.


  1. Popular Mechanics
  2. Discover News
  3. Official Soccket Site
  4. NYTimes
  5. Take Part
  6. Fast Company

4 Responses to “#2-5. Lin, Matthews, Silverman & Thakkar: Kick a Ball, Light a Room. The Four Women Engineers of Soccket.”  

  1. 1 Gavin


  2. 2 Padraig Farrell

    600 milliamps per hour doesn’t make any sense. You (or they) mean 600 milliamp hours, or mAh as you might see on batteries

  3. 3 am

    Oh NO! Someone on the internet is wrong!

  1. 1 Live to Try » 11 to watch in 2011: Change Makers to Help You Kick it Up a Level

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