Teen Inventor Creates a Coffee Mug to Power Your Gadgets

Video screen capture. Global News

Sometimes we learn about teens who are already changing the world and giving us great hope for the future. Teens starting e-waste recycling businesses, creating devices to reduce human-wildlife conflict in Africa, and inventing ways to clean up plastic in the ocean.

One of the best-known teen clean technology inventors is 17-year-old Ann Makosinski. At 15 she won the largest prize for her age group in the worldwide Google Science Fair for inventing a hollow flashlight that is powered by the heat of your hand. The flashlight is covered in Peltier tiles which generate electricity from the temperature difference that occurs between the two sides of the tiles when your hand touches the outside.

hollow flashlight photo

Queenie Andini/Screen capture

Makosinski has invented a new technology using the same tiles that she will present at a science fair in Pittsburgh soon. The "E-Drink," a coffee cup covered in the Peltier tiles, uses the heat of a hot beverage to charge your gadgets via a USB port on the bottom of the mug. As Makosinski explains, your morning ritual could turn into a way to top off your phone's battery with clean energy.

“I saw how you get a hot drink...and you’d just be waiting and waiting for it to cool down so you can start drinking,” she said.

“Why not harvest some of that lost heat, which is energy, and convert it to electricity?”

She's not giving too many details yet, but her body heat-powered flashlight is already going into production and will have mass distribution, so we feel certain that we'll be reading more about the E-Drink soon enough.