Can you power a flashlight without batteries? Ann Makosinski thought you could. And since she could not find a flashlight that worked without batteries, she decided to make one!
Ann Makosinski wasn’t afraid to dream big. When she was fifteen, she invented the Hollow Flashlight. Instead of needing batteries, the Hollow Flashlight is powered by body heat, like the heat from your hand. It is lined with a special material call Peltier tiles, which are able to convert (change) heat to electricity.
Ann invented the flashlight to help her friend in the Philippines. “I’m half-Filipino, half-Polish, and I was talking with a friend who lives in the Philippines,” Makosinski said. “My friend was failing school because there was no electricity at home. She was supposed to be studying at night. I came to find out that a lot of people around the world don’t have access to electricity and wanted to find a way to help people in that situation.”
After inventing her flashlight, Ann was invited to Google’s headquarters for the Google Science Fair, where she met some of the best inventors in the world! She won first prize in her age group for the competition, and was given a $25,000 scholarship and a trophy made out of LEGOs! “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.”
Now, Makosinski has unveiled (shown) her newest invention, a coffee mug that will charge a smartphone. Called the eDrink, the mug has a USB port so you can plug your smartphone into it. The eDrink works the same way as the Hollow Flashlight, converting the heat of the hot drink to electricity, and can charge a smartphone in just minutes.
To see Ann Makosinski show her invention, click here!