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15-year-old student invents flashlight that runs on human body heat

July 02, 2013

15-year-old student invents flashlight that runs on human body heat

The grand prize winner will receive $50,000 and a trip to the Galapagos Island.

A 15-year-old student is one of the Google Science Fair finalists, after submitting a $26 flashlight that runs on human body heat. The top awards will be handed out in September, but Ann Makosinski, a high school junior from Canada, has already achieved something impressive simply by making the list of finalists. The contest will select three age category winners and one grand prize winner, who will receive $50,000 and a trip to the Galapagos Island. With an easily marketable product, however, Makosinski will likely see her vision turn into reality regardless of whether she wins or not.

Makosinski became interested in harvesting energy from the surrounding environment, and this interest drew her to Peltier tiles. Peltier tiles, which are used in devices like heat sinks, produce electricity when one side of the device is heated and the other is cooled, Extreme Tech explains. Makosinski wondered whether this technology could be used to build flashlights that have no need for batteries. She utilized Peltier tiles in her flashlight design and they provided enough power for the flashlight to produce light through an LED bulb, but not enough voltage.

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