Uncharted Play Reaffirms Mission, Addresses SOCCKET Quality Issues

Uncharted Play reaffirms their mission to disarm global issues and inspire social invention. They address quality issues with their flagship product, the SOCCKET, and their efforts to improve the product.
NEW YORK - April 23, 2014 - PRLog -- At Uncharted Play, it is our mission to change the way people view their potential for impact on the world. We use play to disarm global issues and inspire social invention in people that would never consider themselves to be scientists, engineers, or inventors. By showing people what is possible with the power of play, we invite communities around the world to rethink the status quo in an accessible, tangible way.  Our flagship impact product, the SOCCKET, does this by highlighting the energy problem with the most popular sport around the world--soccer. The SOCCKET is an off-grid clean energy source that provides a limited amount of power--enough to provide much needed light for small tasks as a replacement to carbon fuels. It is not a comprehensive solution to the problem of limited energy access in developing countries. Rather, it is an exciting example of how innovation, science and play can be combined to improve the quality of life of people around the world.  When combined with our Think Out Of Bounds impact curriculum, the SOCCKET is incredibly effective at igniting the spark in youth and adults alike--inspiring them to create products and systems to address the issues in their own communities.

We believe wholeheartedly that meaningful change--locally and globally--can only come from having as many people as possible actively engaged in the comprehensive solution. There is no question that people love to play. By packaging these issues with play, we make it easier to educate a global community, raising awareness and expanding the number of people working towards the solution.

Since we began production and shipping of the SOCCKET in December of 2013, we became aware of the durability issues with the ball, resulting in scratches or material damage after limited amounts of play. Specifically, we learned that the light that comes with the ball would flicker or stop working completely and that the outer shell of the ball was easily damaged, making the ball itself vulnerable and less durable.

As soon as we learned of these issues, we purposely chose to halt our global distributions to make the needed improvements.  Through the help of our partners on the ground, we have been able to develop improvements to the SOCCKET based on real field testing over the course of several months. These improvements include a complete re-design of the external shell, which greatly improves durability and ease of assembly. Instead of having 14 separate foam pieces, the

shell is now composed of only two pieces. This required several months of R&D, working closely with our manufacturing partners to overcome a number of challenges with our complex geometry and material limitations. The result of our users’ feedback is a much more durable ball that is within 2% of the target weight of a traditional soccer ball. To address concerns with the lamp, we ceased operations with our current vendor, choosing to design and produce a new lamp in-house that does not flicker and is much more durable and reliable. We have also partnered with two excellent manufacturing firms in upstate New York with over 80 years of experience between them.

Every effort is being made to make the highest quality product. “I was surprised and heartbroken when I learned of the quality issues with the SOCCKET," says Jessica O. Matthews, CEO and Co- Founder of Uncharted Play. “But as soon as we found out about the durability issues, we reacted swiftly, and have been working diligently to address the issues internally and with our overseas partners. We know that our product has a profound impact, and now we know what it takes to make a great product. I not only look forward to continuing our mission, but sharing with other social inventors and entrepreneurs the lessons we've learned."

Throughout our development period, we have become keenly aware of the design and manufacturing obstacles facing small companies like ours with limited resources.  We want to make it as easy as possible for others to learn from us, and be able to create their own social inventions. As part of this process, we are launching an open online platform, where we can share regular updates on the production and manufacturing of our products. We have also begun hosting community product testing events , inviting people to "Come Bust Our Balls" [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nCn6qZcHLs] playing with the latest version of the SOCCKET, and fielding suggestions from everyone who tries out the products. By involving as many people as possible in our process, we know our products will not only get better, but more people will find the courage to invent a better world, as well.

About Uncharted Play:

Founded in 2011, Uncharted Play uses play to disarm global issues and inspire social invention.  Uncharted Play creates products that inspire and support social invention in as many people as possible--products that spark the inner creative in all of us.

If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview with Jessica O. Matthews, please contact Nicole Brown at Nicole@u-play.co, or at 914.645.0898.

Nicole Brown
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