Tim Jahnigen is a multicreative, Dean-Kamen-like inventor who has created "systems and technologies with patents pending in a diverse range of industries, from construction and banking to science and medicine." In recent years he turned his attention towards what initially appeared to be a smaller problem: Redesigning the soccer ball.
During the last World Cup we looked at the soccer ball's design history, and complained about the pure evil that is the Jabulani. But Jahnigen was interested specifically in soccer balls as they're used in developing nations. Your average Adidas will last just fine in the back of a minivan or on the well-manicured pitch at Springfield Middle School, but dirt tracks in Darfur and rocky fields in Afghanistan chew the balls up in no time.
So it was that Jahnigen observed a documentary about kids in Darfur kicking around, rather than a ball, a rough sphere of garbage tied up with twine. It was their only option, as balls donated to children in situations like these simply cannot withstand the rough terrain. "The millions of balls that are donated go flat within 24 hours," Jahnigen told The New York Times.
After doing research he discovered a materials company called PopFoam, whose tagline is "Soft Toughness" and whose titular product is made from EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate). As the company describes it, "PopFoam will improve durability, tear strength, tensile strength, flexibility, color availability, chemical resistance, cold weather resistance, sound protection and abrasion resistance while offering the cushioning comforts and the complement of design ascetics [sic] to your products."
However, Jahnigen calculated that tooling costs to produce PopFoam in a spherical, soccer-ball-sized shape would cost a small fortune--about $300,000, money that he didn't have. Here's where it gets a little crazy: The multi-talented Jahnigen is also a music producer, and counts Sting among his list of buddies. When Sting, no stranger to charitable giving, heard about the project, he insisted on funding it.The resultant One World Futbol has some impressive characteristics:
Virtually-Indestructible. Unlike any inflatable ball on the market, the One World Futbol never needs a pump and never goes flat, even if punctured. The ball is made using state-of-the-art technology that requires no stitching and is designed to have the same rebound characteristics as a traditional soccer ball. It's the same size and weight as a standard soccer ball, but it can also be used for netball, volleyball, and many other games.
All-terrain. The One World Futbol is ideal for any playing surface, not just grass or regulation soccer fields: indoors, on concrete, on blacktop, on grass, on a beach, on dirt, or even on a rocky field. The ball can withstand the harshest conditions without deflating.
Sustainability. The ultra-durability of the One World Futbol also helps meet a significant environmental challenge by eliminating the waste of discarded, punctured soccer balls. In Africa alone, 20 million deflated balls make their way into trash heaps every year.
Buy One, Give One. For every One World Futbol you buy through our "Buy One, Give One" program, we give a second ball to children and youth in need through organizations working in disadvantaged communities such as refugee camps, war zones, disaster area and inner cities.
No Child Labor. Many traditional soccer balls are still stitched together by hand by children and adults working under deplorable conditions in Pakistan, China, and India. The One World Futbol is manufactured using state-of-the-art technology that does not require stitching.
The tooling costs ended up being far less than estimated, and the ball is currently in production. But Jahnigen is still hoping to lower the production costs further: Even at the reduced charity rate of $17 a pop, the ball is still expensive for charitable organizations to procure en masse.
Thankfully, another company stepped up to join Sting and Jahnigen. Chevrolet has agreed to pay for 1.5 million balls to be donated around the world.
Western consumers can purchase a ball here for $39.50, which really counts for two balls—one goes to you, one to a community in need. You can also forego the ball for yourself and spend $25 to have one donated.
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Just got rid of a lot of jobs. Even if it was deplorable conditions, I'm sure they'd rather have jobs than nothing.
- Why dont you ask those poor kids with flat balls or ones made of trash which they prefer. You seem very mad at big corporations which I understand but this is about people coming together to give kids a ball that will last. Yes, they will all make money, especially Sting, but thats the world we live in. This is a design website, and that ball solves a user-related problem in my opinion. If you want to talk politics try a different website.
Bill Gates types of guy loves to share a little bit of his fortune by donating to poor institutions or creating their own institution. But wouldn't be better if those big shots directors just had an non-carnivorous attitude toward start-ups? As far as I know, when a new good product emerges from a ill funded company (that, with time will get better), those big corps, like coca-cola, are the first to try to destroy the initiative, even if it is by buying it and letting the thread controlled and submitted to their plans, killing the innovating power for the society and the possibility of social movement that the new business would start.
Even the rocks and trees knows that we (i'm brazilian) are poor still because of several developed countries efforts to keep us that way. Not exactly keep us that way, but keep they in command, as always been: but for that, invariably they have to sabotage our growing. You've colonized us, than came imperialism and now what happens is: efforts to populate our nations with your capitalist companies only, keeping control and sending good part of the gains to your home nations.
This is not a conspiracy theory. This is the factual truth. We are not simply victims: we fight like all nations in the free market and we are, as all,defending our interest too. G7 interest is to maintain technological supremacy.
All these foreign companies installed here in Brasil (VW, GM, Ford, Whirlpool, etc) reserve their quality jobs to their fellows compatriots, living us with the worse jobs, as is expected.
Why not a policy of respect for the developing country culture and quality while installing firms here? The black people was enslaved through centuries, then came affirmative actions to try to make things better, and it worked, as we see in USA. Imperialism explored developing countries through centuries and the policy is the same yet.
Whirlpool: instead of donating something to the poor, why not do your job honestly and innovate bringing quality and beauty to the society instead of killing innovation and each year, changing only style, pretending to be innovative by adding a little something.
Car manufactures: why not do some good quality not expensive green car, instead of changing car make-up year by year and saying the difficulties of making an electric car are so big. And don't tell that you were ever trying to create better cars and not achievied it: only by 2010 and foward you are taking sustainability a serious issue. You has spent decades putting very little investment on electric cars on purpose - again, killing others innovations - to maintain status-quot.
SO, FINALLY, AS A SOCCER PLAYER, this eva ball is absolutely ridiculous. We don't need this, and if we did, we had it! come on!! Actually, i think i prefer the scrap-ball: might bounce better. How much does it cost an rubber ball that bounces properly??
Sting, im a big fan, but shame on you. GM, f*ck you! F*ck all developed initiatives around the globe that is meant to say "- we are doing what we can!", but, in fact they are saying "-lets see if this fools people to think that our company cares about society and inequality".