July 19, 2019
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Ann Makosinski
Image by TEDx RenfrewCollingwood

Teenager Ann Makosinski invented a revolutionary flashlight that is powered only by hand heat. The 16-year-old half-Filipino got her inspiration from her friends in the Philippines who can’t complete their school homework because of the lack of electricity. The brilliant young inventor thought her flashlight is the possible solution to end the struggle of her friends.

No Batteries, Wind Energy, or Solar Power Needed

Ann recalled hearing that humans are like walking 100-volt light bulbs. She said, “I thought, why not body heat? We have so much heat radiating out of us and it’s being wasted.” Surprisingly, no one in history ever thought to use thermoelectric technology to power flashlights.

Winner of the 2013 Google Science Fair

Ann’s “hollow flashlight”—due to the hollow aluminum tube at its core, responsible for cooling the sides of the peltier tiles attached to the flashlight’s cylinder—was hailed as the best invention in her age group. At first, Ann didn’t expect to win anything because of other equally impressive projects, such as a robotic and a cure for the common cold.

This patent-pending invention could change the world forever. A flashlight that stays on as long as it is held by hand could make an immediate impact on one-fifth of the world’s population—1.2 billion people—who, according to World Bank, have no regular access to electricity.

Terohan Nula