Tuesday, Yahoo News reported that 16- year-old Ann Makosinski invented a flashlight powered solely by the heat of the human hand. The teenager created the simple, thermoelectric design to bring light to poverty-stricken places where electricity is not available or too expensive.
The design utilizes peltier tiles, which produce electricity when one side is heated, and the other side cooled, arranged around a hollow aluminum core. The flashlight will work as long there is a temperature difference.
The inspiration for the young lady's project reveals her noble spirit. Sandra Makosinski, Ann's mother, hails from the Philippines, and had taken the family on two separate trips to visit her home country. While there, Ann was struck by the vast difference between the luxuries afforded to her in Victoria, Canada, and the poverty in the Philippines. She made friends and kept in contact with them via mail. One of her pen pals wrote that her home's lack of electricity made studying at night impossible was causing her to fail in school.
“I just wanted to help my friend in the Philippines,and my flashlight was a possible solution,” Ann said.
After placing second at a local science fair, Ann went on to win in her age category in the 2013 Google Science Fair. She received a trophy made of Legos, a visit to Lego HQ in Denmark, and a $25,000 scholarship.
I didn’t expect to win anything,” she said. “I still have some of the same confetti that rained down,” said Ann. “Just an amazing experience and probably something I won’t experience ever again.”
Ann is still working to increase the voltage of her design.