Ann Makosinski, 15, from British Columbia has invented a thermoelectric Hollow Flashlight that shines simply from the heat of your hand according to Discovery News.
The Hollow Flashlight was designed for a project for the Google Science Fair. The following is her project summary:
“My objective in my project was to create a flashlight that runs solely on the heat of the human hand.
“Using four Peltier tiles and the temperature difference between the palm of the hand and ambient air, I designed a flashlight that provides bright light without batteries or moving parts.
“My design is ergonomic, thermodynamically efficient, and only needs a five degree temperature difference to work and produce up to 5.4 mW at 5 foot candles of brightness.”
According to NBC News, Makosinski entered another Science Fair last year with a flashlight that used kinetic energy to power its LEDs, and this year she wanted to try making one that worked via the thermoelectric effect.
The thermoelectric effect is when a small amount of electricity can be harvested as electrons flow between the cool and hot sides of a material.
Her invention provided a modest amount of light and worked for a half hour at an ambient temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
So how did Makosinski do it? NBC News told readers:
“First, she measured how much electricity could be generated from the heat of a palm — about 57 milliwatts — and how much she needed to light the LED — about half a milliwatt.
“Next, she got the parts together: several Peltier tiles (“I got them surplus off Ebay,” she said), which when warm on one side and cool on the other could generate electricity, and a few other bits necessary to make the current usable by a normal LED.
“Finally, she mounted the tiles and circuitry onto a hollow aluminum tube; air inside the tube would cool the Peltier tiles, while the warmth of a hand would heat the other side.
“And with a little tweaking of voltages and other components, it worked!”
The girl had the following to say about her interesting device:
“The flashlight I have made is more of a prototype then a final product, but the components in my device are quite strong,” Makosinski wrote.
“Of course, if it was to be used and manufactured, I would try to seal off the electronic components in some sort of casing so that it wouldn’t get heavily exposed to the elements (example water), and therefore last longer.”
Who knows what kinds of possibilities Makosinski has opened up with her Hollow Flashlight.
[Image via Youtube/NBCNewsOfficial1]