I HATE my daughter’s iPhone.
Despite the enormous amounts of money and time spent managing her phone use, my biggest gripe is the amount of time my daughter spends being inactive. And she’s not the only one. PHIT America, a government agency set-up to address what they refer to as the “Inactivity Pandemic”, lists some compelling data outlining negative health effects children face due to the amount of time spent on their devices:
- Research clearly shows an inactive child does not perform as well academically as a more active child
- The top 10 killers in the 50 highest income countries are all connected to physical inactivity
- “Sitting is the New Smoking” – More people die from inactivity (5.3 million) each year in America than from smoking (5.0 million)
- There are 10 million totally sedentary children in America and 33 million children who are not active to healthy standards
- Inactivity is responsible for twice as many early deaths as obesity
Kids are winning the screen time battle and it’s time to take action.
It’s a simple solution I came across while reading about this remarkable company Uncharted Power. They have figured out how to capture kinetic energy generated from movement to provide developing countries with low cost energy sources. Their initial products were a simple soccer ball and jump rope that harness active energy and convert it into electricity that could power a lamp, charge phones and power water filtration machines.
The “Soccket” soccer ball uses a pendulum that stores power by capturing kinetic energy when in play. The movement drives the motor to charge a lithium battery that resides inside the soccer ball. After one hour, the ball can power a LED lamp for 3 hours and once the ball is fully charged, it can power a LED light for 72 hours.
The success of the Soccket led to the creation of the Pulse, a jump rope that has a device in the handles which captures the kinetic energy from rope rotation. It generates four times more power than the Soccket and is able to provide enough energy for two hours of light with just 15 minutes of jumping.
Wouldn’t it be great if kids in the developed world HAD TO self-power their devices with movement?
I haven’t written a fan letter since 1984, when I professed my love to the Fonz, but I did send Uncharted Power one a few weeks ago, asking (more like begging) them to consider using their technology to help tackle the obesity epidemic instigated, in part, by technology.
I haven’t heard back yet but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from others in this field who’d be interested in partnering to develop a tool that forces kids to get off their devices and move their bodies. Or at least help me figure out how to harness teen rage into something useful, like renewable energy.