The Body Heat Flashlight

Article by: Jiwon Cyhn

Photograph from:

With semester one coming to an end, students are receiving an avalanche of assignments, tests, and activities to finish. Late into the night, students try to shove textbooks of information into their heads with laptops shining onto their faces and lights putting them in a spotlight, detaching them from the darkness outside. And yet light, something we take for granted, is inaccessible to many – millions of students all over the world study without adequate lighting.  And this is what inspired a 15 year year old half Filipina, Ann Makosinski, to invent the “Body Heat Flashlight”. Makosinski’s friend in the Philippines repeated a grade because she couldn’t study in the dark. Makosinski then decided to help her by combining peltier tiles, a hollow aluminum tube, and a light-emitting diode (LED) to create a body-heat generated flashlight. Not only did Makosinski win an honorable mention in the 2013 Google Science Fair, but she also helped many students with her invention. Many scientists and media sources, according to the Rappler, believe that “Ann Makosinski’s invention could change the world.”

Such inventions by young students could change the world. Angela Zhang (17), Chinese schoolgirl, created an advanced nanoparticle that can kill cancer cells. Elif Bilgin (17), another high school student, discovered how to turn bananas into environmentally friendly plastic. When she was in high school, Allison Dana Bick (now 20) created a cheap and quick way to test for water contamination. She created a color chart from few simple household items, such as cell phones, light and a plastic bag.

But how do these innovations relate to service? Makosinski’s invention could help students who cannot properly study simply because they do not have access to light. With her flashlight, more students would be more likely to graduate from school and thus improve their personal lives and, ultimately, the overall economy. Bilgin’s invention could lessen the high amount of non-recyclable trash to help countries become cleaner. This could also help one of ISM’s service partners, the Philippine Community Fund (PCF), which helps those who live near the trash dump site of Smoky Mountains. It would improve the quality of life, the economy, and more. Bick’s invention could reduce the many problems that occur frequently from drinking contaminated water. Millions could be saved by this simple yet very inspiring idea.

Even at ISM, students are creating many novel ideas to aid global problems. Students are even channeling their ideas into action– such as our Robotics Olympics team. These organizations can change our community, just as the young scientists and innovators have done.