Being an innovator means shaking things up and that’s exactly what Jessica O. Matthews, Founder of Uncharted Power, is doing as a pioneer in the renewable energy sector. Matthews is aiming to solve real world energy infrastructure problems with a keen eye focused on intent and purpose to serve often neglected and underserved communities.
Regarded as an academic juggernaut, holding two degrees from Harvard, 11 patents, and a Harvard Foundation Scientist of the Year award, Matthews is innovating in the energy industry with her full scale renewable energy company, Uncharted Power.
Uncharted Power was founded as a refinement of a project that Matthews and her classmates started ten years earlier at Harvard. Soccket, an energy-generating soccer ball with a battery intended to help store electricity for off-the-grid villages in Africa was the prototype. While the project did not go farther past its prototype, it did get the attention of notables like Barack Obama, which eventually led to Matthews securing investors like NBA Legend/Businessman Ervin Magic Johnson.
What started out as an idea to bring a smarter energy grid to sub-Saharan Africa, moved beyond that when the founder realized she needed to think on a bigger scale. Matthews has since shifted her focus to creating a global solution that would start in America to counteract broken energy systems prevalent there. Wildfires and floods are becoming regularly occurring natural disasters and she’s very concerned about that problem moving forward.
“Right now, the company is trying to develop a new kind of paver that can transmit, direct and modulate energy underfoot, helping replace overhead cables with a smart, ground-level transmission system that can be integrated into sidewalks and highways."
The hope is that these pavers will deliver electrical power and digital connectivity to communities experiencing "light poverty." If successful, Matthews will have revolutionize the current energy distribution infrastructure in ways that can both can eliminate eliminate the negatives of overhead wiring and reduce costs of underground wiring. Really dope shit.
A true creative technologist, Matthews is tackling tough problems and encourages more entrepreneurs to do the same because she believes only full-scale change is a sufficient response to real problems.
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Written by Brittany Wallace
Edited by Naomi Arroyo