Ann Makosinski gets the humanitarian benefits of innovation. The University of British Columbia English literature student and creative mind behind Hollow Flashlight—a flashlight powered by heat expelled from the human hand—has stepped up as one of the country’s most influential entrepreneurs… and notably, one of its youngest.
A 19-year-old inductee to Forbes magazine’s coveted “30 Under 30” list (as of this year), Ann’s knack for invention began as a child. Even back then she gravitated towards problem solving and experimentation. Picture a young Ann constructing different contraptions and gadgets with any material available—a pastime she says taught her the value of leveraging resources.
Today, the inventor considers many factors when devising projects, but cites alternative energy sources as a central focus. “Energy is always around us,” notes Ann. “I care about us taking advantage of it.”
On the heels of Hollow Flashlight, the teen has unveiled another invention: a mug that doubles as a phone charger. How? It’s as brilliant as converting heat from a hot beverage into an electric current.
Evidently a winning idea, she was awarded Shell Canada’s 2015 Quest Climate Grant for her eDrink mug, sending her home with $50,000. Ann’s latest invention has also earned her pop culture status. For proof, see her interview with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.
Finding imaginative ways to reuse energy is how a globally-minded Ann plans to protect the planet and help others. With negotiations for Hollow Flashlight underway, she hopes her invention will be distributed around the world in emergency kits and also used to help brighten education for kids—literally. “I hope to have my flashlights distributed to youth in developing countries that do not have access to electricity or light to read their schoolwork at night.”
Ultimately, Ann’s love for innovation is driven by a passion for learning. Having participated in science fairs since she was in elementary school, Ann cheerleads other young people to always strive to learn more, work harder and do better—especially when it comes to shaping the future of Canada.
“Moving forward into the next 150 years, our country needs more innovative youth and STEM students who want to affect the future of our world,” Ann says. “In Canada, this means more funding for science fairs and encouraging youth to work on their own passion projects outside of school. Learning about science is invaluable.”
Source: WE Charity. In Celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, WE, a worldwide development charity and youth empowerment movement, asked Ann Makosinski and 49 other remarkable Canadians the question: What are you doing to make our country a more caring and compassionate place? For more inspiring stories of how Canadians plan to shape our nation’s next 150 years, visit we.org/stories.