President plugs electricity generating soccer ball in Tanzania

Don’t forget to thank President Obama for his contribution as well. His brief playtime today with a Soccket ball — a soccer ball that converts kinetic energy into electricity — didn’t generate much power, but it did serve to underscore the president’s plan to invest $7 billion in energy access programs across Africa. It also produced a couple of photos of the president with a ball on his head, as well as several tweets lauding the idea.

President Obama declared the Soccket ball “pretty cool,” adding, “You can imagine this in villages all across the country.” Here’s a shot from Uncharted Play showing the LED lamp in action.

As cool as the idea is, someone had to be a spoil sport. Before spending the whole $7 billion on soccer balls, hopefully President Obama will look into the dissenting view. As a piece in Foreign Policy notes, while the Soccket costs $99, “you can get a solar-powered lamp for $10. It isn’t clear why anyone would pay 10 times that for a light whose power source you have to kick around for half an hour to get less illumination.”

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