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Dave Ross

Teen develops flashlight powered by the heat of your hand

Imagine a flashlight that requires no batteries, and simply lights up when you grab it – a flashlight powered simply by the heat of your hand!

That invention was good enough to make Ann Makosinski, who lives just across the water from Anacortes in Victoria, British Columbia, a finalist in the Google Science fair.

I talked with her and her dad, Arthur, about the invention and I wanted to be convinced that she could really explain how this thing works, because you never know how much the parents helped, right?

“If you heat one side of these (Peltier) tiles and you cool the other side and electricity is produced. So in my experiments I’ve been heating one side with the palm of my hand and cooling the other side with just the ambient air,” said Makosinski.

I asked her dad what he did to turn his daughter into such a genius.

“I started giving her computer hard drives to take a part and she became very good at that,” said Arthur. Although they both admitted she wasn’t putting them back together at the time.

Arthur also said that she doesn’t spend a lot time watching television or messing around on her iPhone. She doesn’t even have iPhone.

“I have a phone,” Makosinski clarified. “But my dad turns off the WiFi and it doesn’t have a Sim card either, so it’s not really considered a phone.”

Makosinski is only 15 years old, and a career in engineering seems likely path for the Google Science Fair finalist. But dad isn’t pushing too hard.

“I try to keep quiet,” he said. He doesn’t want her to do the opposite of what he suggests.

She clearly knows her stuff. If she wins, Google will award her $50,000 and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.’s Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.

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About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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