15-Year-Old Canadian Schoolgirl Creates Flashlight Powered By Body Heat

15-year-old Canadian girl invents flashlight powered only by body heat and earns spot in Google Science Fair finals
At the tender age of 15, Canadian high school student Ann Makosinski has designed and built a flashlight powered by body heat. Her creation had assisted her in capturing the position of a finalist in the 15-16 age group of the Google Science Fair. She had made it to one of the finalist position in the massive group of a total of thousands of entries from more than around 100 Nations. She recalled her past experiences and said that her science project in tenth grade was a volcano. Unfortunate enough (or indeed fortunate for her) that her volcano works only half of the time, which inspired her for doing something better and bigger.

The LED flashlight relies on the thermoelectric effect, with tiles that generate electricity from the differences in temperature to generate electricity. She was trying to think of a way of harvesting untapped energy when she was inspired to make the flashlight.

She realized that the warmth generated by the human body was an overlooked energy source. Her project objective was to create a flashlight that ran solely off the heat of the hand. That objective was accomplished when she discovered Peltier tiles, which produce electricity when one side of the tile is heated and the other is cooled.

Makosinski realized she could use these tiles to create energy for her flashlight if she left the device hollow. Holding the flashlight on the outside would cause the tiles to heat  up on one side while the ambient
air would cool down the tile on the inside of the flashlight. 

The power created by the tiles was enough to power an LED light, but it did not create enough voltage. 

To troubleshoot that issue she created a circuit that would allow for transformers, upping the voltage. It worked! The flashlight does have one issue: it works better in colder temperatures since the inside is 
better able to cool down comparative to the person's body heat.

Makosinski built two different flashlights. The first was made using a tube of aluminum, which is a good heat sink material thanks to its high thermal conductivity, while the second was built using a PVC tube.

Both models work better when the difference between the ambient temperature and body temperature is greater, which is to say, when it's colder. So while the flashlights worked with an air temperature of 10° C (50° F), they emitted more light with the air temperature at 5° C (41° F). Still, she claims that both were able to maintain a steady beam of light for 20 minutes, even in the warmer temperature.

Makosinski with  Flashlight Powered By Body Heat
The final cost of each flashlight came to only just over CA$26 (US$25), but if mass-produced, the cost would obviously be substantially lower.

Makosinski along with 14 other Google Science Fair finalists will be travelling to Google's Mountain View, California campus in the month of September. The venue will witness the prize distribution of the winner in each of the three age groups.

A grand prize winner will be banging a $50,000 scholarship from Google and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.


You have read this articleGadgets / Tech-News with the title 15-Year-Old Canadian Schoolgirl Creates Flashlight Powered By Body Heat. You can bookmark this page URL http://astrofuturetrends.blogspot.com/2013/07/15-year-old-canadian-schoolgirl-creates.html. Thanks!
Write by: RC - Monday, July 1, 2013

Comments "15-Year-Old Canadian Schoolgirl Creates Flashlight Powered By Body Heat"

Post a Comment