Found: Science fair project uses Peltier to power battery-free flashlight

By on September 18, 2013, 10:30 AM

A 15-year-old high school student by the name of Ann Makosinski has invented a flashlight that draws power from the heat generated from the palms of your hands. Dubbed the “hollow flashlight,” it uses the Peltier effect (the same technology that was once the go-to method for extreme overclockers before liquid nitrogen became the norm) to create electricity that is then used to power the flashlight.

If you are unfamiliar, a Pelter is able to generate voltage when there is a different temperature on either side of the “plate.” In the case of the hollow flashlight, the warm side is heated by the user’s palm while the opposite side is cooled by the ambient air and a passive heatsink.

Makosinski was selected as one of 15 finalists to compete in Google’s annual Science Fair, an online science competition open to students around the world between the ages of 13 and 18. The winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship and a free trip to the Galapagos Islands – not too shabby!




User Comments: 19

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Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Very impressive and noble young lady. You go for it and keep it up.

Guest said:

This is a really old story.

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

This...is pretty cool. Smart people on the rise!

Guest said:

Better get a patent on that or Apple will steal it and sue you for using it.

Iflash(tm) ;)

Sandip Sandip said:

Quite good looking

Emexrulsier said:

Better get a patent on that or Apple will steal it and sue you for using it.

Iflash(tm)

If you remember back in the 70/80s that is exactly how MS made a large chunk of their fortune.

Emexrulsier said:

This is a really old story.

It's not that old the fair starting accepting entries earlier this year and winners haven't been announced yet. But true this video could be at least 6 months old.

Guest said:

A few months ago I saw a documentary about a Japanese scientist who spent about 10 years inventing and developing a heat-to-electricity technology. It's so exciting to see a young girl beat him in such a short period of time. She really gives a word "invention" a new meaning.

Guest said:

Just another invention that will never see the light of day.

The battery companies will buy up the patent and set on it.

Take a good look, it's the last you'll see of it.

rocklobster rocklobster said:

Peltier tiles are nothing new, also considering how faint the light is from something like this there isn't much of a purpose for this aside from being used as a beacon. You'd have to charge a battery a lot in order to generate enough power to use for a flashlight or lamp even. In the phillipines this would be even harder to use considering how much harder it is to cool this with ambient air. This 'invention'(strapping a lamp to peltier tiles is not something fancy) isn't nearly as useful as using something like a hand powered dynamo to charge a battery to power a lamp.

lipe123 said:

A few months ago I saw a documentary about a Japanese scientist who spent about 10 years inventing and developing a heat-to-electricity technology. It's so exciting to see a young girl beat him in such a short period of time. She really gives a word "invention" a new meaning.

Not entirely accurate. The peltier effect has been known about since the 90's and it's been used extensively in reverse to cool things. This isn't a new invention its just applying exiting tech in new ways

unloco101 said:

Just another invention that will never see the light of day.

Well done.

DrKrypton DrKrypton said:

Im sorry but since when is Inventing something involve taking existing technologies and putting them together????? she didn't INVENT anything. how about I nail two boards together and call it a spoon??

DrKrypton DrKrypton said:

A few months ago I saw a documentary about a Japanese scientist who spent about 10 years inventing and developing a heat-to-electricity technology. It's so exciting to see a young girl beat him in such a short period of time. She really gives a word "invention" a new meaning.

Not entirely accurate. The peltier effect has been known about since the 90's and it's been used extensively in reverse to cool things. This isn't a new invention its just applying exiting tech in new ways

uh, and you obviously didn't do your homework - The Peltier effect is the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors and is named for French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier, who discovered it in 1834.

DrKrypton DrKrypton said:

They use the peltier effect to power the space shuttle.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wonder how much power could be generated during the insulting effects of homes, freezers, A/C ducts, and portable coolers.

What about the heat generated from automobiles versus the surrounding air? There is allot more potential to this than powering hand-held flashlights.

DrKrypton DrKrypton said:

I wonder how much power could be generated during the insulting effects of homes, freezers, A/C ducts, and portable coolers.

What about the heat generated from automobiles versus the surrounding air? There is allot more potential to this than powering hand-held flashlights.

this tech is used in portable coolers. those that are plugged into your vehicle - [link]

do you know how to do research??

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

do you know how to do research??
Not when I know how to get you to do it for me. This way I can do research and get you to help me with other research I don't have time for. How was that for a smart ass reply to a smart ass question?

DrKrypton DrKrypton said:

Not when I know how to get you to do it for me. This way I can do research and get you to help me with other research I don't have time for. How was that for a smart *** reply to a smart *** question?

wow that was tricky. so intelligent..so you answer questions without knowing the answer. you must be a politician.

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