Body-Heat-Powered Flashlight Invented by Canadian Teen


511-Tactical-Flashlights-at-SHOT-ShowA hollow flash light that is powered by body heat has been invented by Ann Makosinski, a Canadian tenth grader. Makosinski’s invention is one of the 15 science projects that will compete for the $50,000 grand price scholarship from Google at the Google Campus in Mountain View, California. Google made the announcement Thursday. The prize also includes a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Makosinski, 15,is a student at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, Canada. She is one of the 15 students from around the world who beat out thousands of entries from more than 100 countries to make finalist list at the Google’s 2013 Science Fair.

Makosinski said she is excited about presenting her invention to the Google Science Fair judges. She said she also looked forward to talking to the other finalists about their projects.

According to reports, Makosinski has researched various different forms of energy over the past few years. While in the seventh grade, she experimented with devices called Peltier tiles that produce electricity when heated on one side and cooled on the other. She used these in a Grade 7 science fair project and envisioned them being used to potentially capture the thermal energy produced by the human body.

She bought the Peltier tiles on eBay and started testing them. Doing calculations, Makosinski realized that the warmth of a person’s hand produced enough energy to power a flashlight. She researched and found that by doing some changes to the design circuits, transformers could be used to increase voltage.

‘I’m really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use,” she said Thursday.

Makosinski used materials easily available in stores. The aluminum tube that the flash light is made came from a mechanical shop at the University of Victoria. Her father works at the shop as a laboratory manager. The Peltier tiles came from eBay. She bought a PVC tube from Home Depot. She used this to contain the aluminum tube.

The price tag for all these materials was around $26. Makosinski , if mass produced, the flashlight would be much cheaper.

Makosinski said she is excited about her trip to the Google headquarters. “I just can’t believe that I actually made it this far,” she said.

By Perviz Walji

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