Lighting up lives, one jump rope at a time

From the folks that brought you the energy-harvesting soccer ball, here comes another playful product: The Pulse, a jump rope that harvests the kinetic energy of a jump rope’s motion. The startup is called Uncharted Play, and the company’s co-founder and CEO Jessica Matthews showed off the new device at Ted Women on Thursday.

The PulseThe Pulse is being sold in beta for $129, and only 100 of these versions are being made with the company’s 3D printing techniques. Matthews said the company is also working on a football, basketball and skateboard that can harvest energy.

Why play, asked Matthews during her talk? “Because play is awesome. Play is joy and creativity and hope,” and it “disarms the energy problem,” she said.

The Pulse, as well as the soccer ball Soccket, were created for developing countries where the power grid isn’t reliable or available. Matthews said that they’ve distributed 10,000 Socckets to kids across countries like Nigeria, Tanzania, and Mexico, and they plan to make millions more with a new manufacturing source in Nigeria. Not bad for a play company, noted Matthews. Not bad indeed.

While devices like solar panels and hand cranks can generate more clean and distributed energy than these types of energy harvesting products, Uncharted Play’s devices are also a way to bring attention to the issue of getting power to the developing world.