On visits to the Philippines, Ann Makosinski noticed that her friends would receive failing grades simply because they did not have electricity at night, preventing them from studying after the sun went down. To help ensure they were able to get a well-rounded education, Makosinski created a flashlight that is not powered by batteries.
Called Hollow Flashlight, the device uses Peltier tiles to produce light. It works by using the temperature delta between the palm of the user's hand and the ambient air inside a hollow aluminum tube. This then powers three LED lights, which can produce up to 5.4 milliWatts (about the brightness of a five-foot candle).
Makosinski, who won the 1st place invention in the 15-16 category of the 2013 Google Science Fair, hopes the Hollow Flashlight will be used in emergency preparedness kids and on a larger scale in developing countries. Ultimately, she wants to make clean power generation and eliminate non-recycable batteries.
Watch Makosinki talk about her inspiration for the Hollow Flashlight below.