Have you ever been in desperate need of a flashlight only to pick one up and realize the batteries are dead? Thanks to 15-year-old Canadian Ann Makosinski, you may soon only need the power of your hands.
The thermoelectric effect is when a small amount of electricity can be harvested as electrons flow between cool and hot sides of material. When Ann discovered 57 milliwatts could be generated from the human palm and only about half a milliwatt was needed to light the LED, she knew she was on to something. Ann purchased Peltier tiles off Ebay and then proceeded to mount the tiles and circuitry onto a hollow aluminum tube.
How It Works
The air present in the hollow aluminum tube is responsible for cooling the Peltier tiles, while at the same time the hand on the other side of the flashlight produces heat for the thermoelectric effect. At an ambient temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a subtle light was produced and maintained for approximately half an hour. The light varies depending on the temperature but for a prototype, young Ann Makosinski has developed an invention that may revolutionize flash lights.