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Google Science Fair Finalist Invents Peltier-Powered Flashlight

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the now-make-a-peltier-powered-bicycle-and-you've-got-an-investor dept.

Canada 170

GTRacer writes "Ann Makosinski, a Canadian student competing in Google's Science Fair, submitted a flashlight which uses temperature differentials to power its LEDs. Her long-time interest is alternative energy because, '[she's] really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use.' Using Peltier tiles and custom circuitry, her design currently runs for 20 minutes or so and costs $26. A win at the September finals in Mountain View and/or outside investment could fund further development."

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170 comments

Only until I need glasses (-1, Offtopic)

arth1 (260657) | about 10 months ago | (#44171625)

Am I the only one who read that as a peltier-powered fleshlight?

Re:Only until I need glasses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171653)

Yes

Re:Only until I need glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171657)

Nope. I guess we're both spending too much time on the Internet.

Current heat wave (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171627)

Will not work so great with a 2 degree delta T

Re:Current heat wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171663)

I knew a girl with cold hands, but I don't think the LEDs in the flashlight would work with reverse polarity voltage.

Invented??? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171629)

She "invented" it by finding an circuit online, copying it, and buying some Peltier tiles off of eBay? WTF?

Re:Invented??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171685)

The circuit she used is probably covered by patents as well.
I hope she enjoys getting sued.

Re:Invented??? (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 10 months ago | (#44172191)

Submitter here. According to the CBC write-up (and not covered in the TWO copy-pasta articles I had to wade through to GET to something that looked like original source!) she tried some custom designs, then found one online and bought the design.

The article does not go into specifics of the transaction, so while she may still be legally on the hook, it can't be inferred from the info given.

I hear you man! She's a moron! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171949)

She "invented" it by finding an circuit online, copying it, and buying some Peltier tiles off of eBay? WTF?

This stupid girl just did what every working engineer does - even the NASA engineers - take shit off the shelf and design from it!

If she was REALLY smart, she's mine her own copper, done her own research, discovered chemistry and physics on her own, and well, just did it without all this nonsense of living in an industrial society!

REAL inventors reinvent in the wheel everytime they need one!

Re:I hear you man! She's a moron! (3, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#44172949)

This stupid girl just did what every working engineer does - even the NASA engineers - take shit off the shelf and design from it!

Yeah, and that's why we call that "engineering". It's distinctly different from "inventing" anything or doing "science".

Re:Invented??? (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 10 months ago | (#44172115)

She "invented" it by finding an circuit online, copying it, and buying some Peltier tiles off of eBay? WTF?

Yeah, and if you think that's bad, you should see how Intel does pretty much the same thing and they are making billions of dollars off of it! All they did was look up a transistor design from 50 years ago, hook up billions of them in an integrated circuit, stamp their name on it and sell it for hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars to unsuspecting users that could have built it themselves if they wanted to.

Losers! (sorry for the correct spelling, stupid autocorrect didn't let me type Loosers!")

Re:Invented??? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172333)

Losers! (sorry for the correct spelling, stupid autocorrect didn't let me type Loosers!")

Wait a minute.

Re:Invented??? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 10 months ago | (#44172897)

Losers! (sorry for the correct spelling, stupid autocorrect didn't let me type Loosers!")

Of course, if you really wanted to be properly geeky about it, you'd have spelled it "lusers."

Re:Invented??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172447)

Dude, it's a girl. Cut her some slack.

cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171633)

I wonder if peltier tiles could be used to make a vibrating butt plug? That would be far more useful than this flashlight thing.

FlashDark? (4, Funny)

AdamThor (995520) | about 10 months ago | (#44171635)

So if you're hanging around the desert and the ambient temp is warmer than your hand, will it make things darker? That would be cool.

Re:FlashDark? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171807)

Power is being generated based on the temperature differential. If the ambient temperature is higher than that of your hand, I would presume that the output polarity would be reversed. Hopefully she included a simple diode bridge in her circuit design to accommodate for such situations. Only other thing I can find lacking in her design is a small battery backup to make the flashlight more durable (your hand will recharge the device, rather than power it) and some copper sheets on the inside to make power generation a little more efficient.

Re:FlashDark? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171829)

So if you're hanging around the desert and the ambient temp is warmer than your hand, will it make things darker? That would be cool.

No, it's for when you're lost in the arctic and freezing to death. Some of your wasted body heat will let you see the wolves circling...

Re:FlashDark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171971)

So if you're hanging around the desert and the ambient temp is warmer than your hand, will it make things darker? That would be cool.

No, deserts are cold at night. Go and see.

If deserts are warm at night, the will be 30+C, which makes the temp. gradient too small to be useful. The real benefit for this stuff is when it is cold for when it is cold is when chemical batteries tend to fail most.

Frankly, this is a good idea for emergency flashlight.

Re:FlashDark? (1)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about 10 months ago | (#44172913)

I wish I knew who started that old wives tale about deserts being cold at night.

Phoenix forecast for tomorrow: High 111, low 92.

Sure, it's cold in December, but I don't think that's what you were referring to.

What creates the temperature differential? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171647)

Does she put it in the fridge before using it or something?
Or does it use the difference in temperature between your hand and the flashlight.

Also, since this is generating electricity from a temperature differential, rather than generating a temperature differential from electricity, wouldn't this be the Seebeck effect?

Re:What creates the temperature differential? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171837)

She's from Canada, so there's likely a pretty massive delta between the ambient air temperature and human body temperature. It, like elections, probably doesn't work in Florida.

Re:What creates the temperature differential? (2, Interesting)

barc0001 (173002) | about 10 months ago | (#44171911)

She's from Victoria, BC. It was almost 90F in Victoria over the weekend. Which is apparently about what it is in Miami right now. It's not all a frozen wasteland up here ya know.

Re:What creates the temperature differential? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172117)

It wasn't almost 90F in Victoria over the weekend. It was 32C.

Re:What creates the temperature differential? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172269)

No, I don't "C". Pics or it didn't happen.

Re:What creates the temperature differential? (5, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 10 months ago | (#44171867)

Does she put it in the fridge before using it or something? Or does it use the difference in temperature between your hand and the flashlight.

The latter.

If you RTFA you'll see she's using the aluminum flashlight body as a heat conductor and the "head" and other exposed portions of it as an air-cooled heatsink.

She's stuck the handle of the light into an insulating plastic pipe, cut a hole in the pipe, and stuck the peltier cell in the hole, with the "cold" side in contact with the flashlight handle and the "warm" side in contact with the hand. (I expect the next step is to wrap an outer aluminum tube around it to conduct heat from the whole hand to the cell, rather than just heating it with a patch of palm directly contacting it.)

Voltage boost converter between the peltier assembly and the LED (because the peltier cell she used was not stcked for the right voltage to drive the LED.) The LED shines as long as you hold it, if the air is cool enough. (She's used it for 20 minutes running.)

Also, since this is generating electricity from a temperature differential, rather than generating a temperature differential from electricity, wouldn't this be the Seebeck effect?

Yes. Seebeck discovered current generation from heat differential (with dissimilar metal wires and a compass needle), then Peltier discovered heat-pumping with current.

But, like most rotating electric machinery (where the same device is a motor or generator depending on whether you power it or twist it), the same effect is a heat pump or heat engine (depengding on whether you apply a temperature difference and pull power or apply power and pump heat).

The effect is now often called the "Peltier-Seebeck effect" in textbooks. The cells are typically called Peltier Cells because the efficient ones are manufactured mainly for heat-pumping, though they work just fine both ways.

Why is this story getting so much press? (4, Interesting)

Jadware (1081293) | about 10 months ago | (#44171649)

Someone told me this girl will become a billionaire if she can figure out how to make a heat-based car engine out of Peltier tiles. I replied with a long sigh and this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine [wikipedia.org] The Stirling engine was invented in 1816.

Re:Why is this story getting so much press? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171913)

Because you are a defeatist loser and you are probably jealous that you never did anything half as interesting in your miserable, sad life. Go cry yourself to sleep now.

She'll go far (5, Insightful)

Smallpond (221300) | about 10 months ago | (#44171703)

Makosinski admitted there were points in the experiment when she thought it would never work, but said "You just kind of have to keep going.

Way more important lesson than the circuit design.

The amazing thing is the LEDs (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#44171725)

Being able to get light out of such a tiny current source as a thermocouple is amazing. Since it's just two dissimilar metals in electrical contact to provide the electricity there's plenty of scope to improve the design and get something mass produced for a lot less than $26.
The summary may confuse people since they may be thinking of peltier cooling, which is providing electricity to create a temperature difference, but the same hardware produces electricity from a temperature difference (and is normally known as a thermocouple in that mode).

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (3, Informative)

_merlin (160982) | about 10 months ago | (#44171791)

It's not thermocouples with dissimilar metals. It's Seebeck effect using semiconductor junctions. (Peltier effect is the use of voltage to generate a temperature differential, Seebeck effect is use of a temperature differential to generate voltage, but you can use the same devices for both.)

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#44172617)

Who modded this up? Merlin, I suggest you look up what a thermocouple is and you'll see the way it works is the Seebeck effect. There's no point throwing around words you do not understand in the face of a far simpler explanation that was written to try not to confuse readers such as yourself by adding a third term.

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172967)

There's no point throwing around words you do not understand

That never seems to stop you.

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#44172649)

Also the semiconductor junctions are a junction of dissimilar metals.

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 10 months ago | (#44173039)

They aren't dissimilar metals at all - they're semiconductor metalloids that are N- or P-doped, i.e. silicon or germanium with impurities added, just like the active devices in integrated circuits.

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44173337)

Who modded this up? Dbill, I suggest you look up what a semiconductor is and you'll see the way it works is solid state physics. There's no point throwing around words you do not understand.

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171863)

It's not a tiny current source, but a tiny voltage source.

The current provided by a thermocouple can be quite significant despite the very low voltage. Many security valves like those in gas powered water heaters are operated with the current generated by a thermocouple. Even a thermocuple powered electromagnet can easily hold several pound.

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 10 months ago | (#44171889)

The summary and article are incorrect. The Peltier effect is converting a voltage difference into a temperature difference. In this case, it is the Seebeck effect being used to convert a temperature difference into a voltage difference. So-called "Peltier devices" can work both ways, but aren't typically called thermocouples ("thermocouple" usually used for a device intended to convert temperature to voltage), even if they are in strictly technical terms.

The Seebeck effect was discovered first, so referring to it as the Peltier effect should be considered inappropriate (if not insulting to Thomas Johann Seebeck).

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 10 months ago | (#44172203)

I saw commentary about Peltier versus Seebeck before I wrote the summary. The CBC will have to explain their position. In any case, what I read, and it goes without saying that IANAEE, is that Peltier and Seebeck are reversible from a strictly technical point of view based on how the differential is handled. I think?

I'm open to being educated in this regard, if you so feel the need.

In any case, I thought it was an interesting article and I hope that, should she get funding, the issues with maximum output and cost can be solved with more engineering or economies of scale. But seriously, she's 15, been competing in fairs since 6 (IIRC) and has done something way cooler than the typical fair fare!

Re:The amazing thing is the LEDs (0)

msauve (701917) | about 10 months ago | (#44172307)

No direct criticism of the summary, it was following the terminology in the article.

Just a case of MSM not editing or understanding what they're reporting on.

I could also complain about claiming an "invention" (it's really a discovery - nothing new found or created, just a new [?] application of something already known), but I'm not sure where that claim came from.

Hope she's learned something (5, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#44171869)

Her long-time interest is alternative energy because, '[she's] really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use

The thing her presentation is missing is any acknowledgment that she has actually learned something, and realizes now that her flashlight is a neat little science trick, but otherwise terribly impractical.

It only works for a few minutes, as the flashlight heats up to match your body temperature, and wouldn't work at all where ambient temps are remotely similar to body temperature. She also got only a tiny amount of power and light out of it, which could be provided for weeks or months by a watch battery without the expensive peltier in the mix.

Slightly more interesting than vinegar and water mixed together in a model volcano, but the real question is whether she learned something valuable in all of this.

Re:Hope she's learned something (2)

Xyrus (755017) | about 10 months ago | (#44172063)

I have to agree.

It's fairly simple to use something like a Joule Thief circuit in conjuction with peltier tiles and an LED to make a low power flashlight, but it is fairly impractical. Even mass produced these would still cost more than a standard LED flashlight, and the standard flashlight will have higher light output and more life.

It's a cool high school science experiment, but not really ground-breaking.

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 months ago | (#44172077)

Ok, so you have a better design?

Re:Hope she's learned something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172287)

I do. its called a "maglite".

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172293)

Yes. I think if you could concentrate the suns rays on the flashlight body you could conceivably create a solar powered flashlight.

PV is more practical (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#44172453)

A photovoltaic panel would probably be far more efficient than thermal + Peltier/Seebeck for charging the battery in a solar-powered flashlight. At least all the solar-powered flashlights I could find on Google use PV.

Re:Hope she's learned something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172301)

The better design is to use a battery.

Re:Hope she's learned something (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 9 months ago | (#44173117)

Anything you can buy is better.

Crank or squeeze flashlights do a fine job.

Solar powered flashlights do a very good job, and are hassle-free.

NiMH LSD batteries (AAA/AA/D/9V) are only about 3x the price of disposibles, hold a charge forever, work in any common flashlight, and can be recharged with the cheapest and simplest solar battery chargers, as well as conventional chargers.

If you want a thermocouple design... Mount the peltier to a stove, and hook the leads to a battery charger.

Re:Hope she's learned something (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172087)

wouldn't work at all where ambient temps are remotely similar to body temperature.

She is Canadian. It wont be a problem.

Slightly more interesting than vinegar and water mixed together in a model volcano

Every third grader knows that vinegar and baking soda are required ingredients to make a model volcano. She may not have learned something, but at least you have.

Re:Hope she's learned something (5, Interesting)

RKThoadan (89437) | about 10 months ago | (#44172101)

The last time I needed a flashlight I really only needed it for a few minutes to find candles and such. The time before that I was just looking for something in my trunk at night. 20 minutes is more than enough for either of those circumstances. The last time I needed a flashlight to last longer than 20 minutes was probably spelunking over a decade ago.

In most cases ambient temp was decently lower than my body temp just because it's usually evening/night time when it's needed. I used to have one of the shake-style flashlights, but it seems to have vanished. You pretty much had to shake it constantly for it to work, which made actually looking for things with it quite difficult. In any case, having a flashlight around that I know will work regardless of battery quality is a good thing.

In short: I would absolutely buy one of these.

Re:Hope she's learned something (3, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | about 9 months ago | (#44173083)

The "shake" lights are a terrible design, almost as gimmicky as this one . You can go with solar powered lights, so the battery will be kept charged. Or you can go with crank-type flashlights, which will turn a minute of work into several minutes of light.

Personally, I'm happy with batteries. Low self discharge NIMH batteries are extremely impressive. I have a single, seperate solar battery charger in the event of power outage or hiking, and can be used to power radios, phones, or anything else. And I've got the freedom to select whatever design of light I want, inexpensively, from pocket sized units I carry around, to room-illuminating lantern-replacements, to high intensity lights.

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172119)

Someone smart enough to go through trial and effort experimentation and end up with a working device has obviously learned something on the way. She does refer to some problems she overcame in the presentation, and the article discusses more fully. The presentation is a video abstract, not an in-depth dissertation and if YOU haven't learned enough to figure THAT out, you probably shouldn't be commenting in public without someone to proofread your posts for you. And yes, my snide, sarcastic comments are in response to snide, sarcastic comments on a science fair project that is the epitome of what a good science fair project is--an opportunity to formulate some theories, do some experimentation and demonstrate results. You sound like the type of person who would criticize Thomas Edison for experimenting with several hundred different materials for the filament of an incandescent bulb before finally hitting on Tungsten. Sheesh.

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 10 months ago | (#44172281)

I don't usually do this, but I'm feeling contrary this week. The linked article covered the fact she's been doing science fairs for years and for this one, tried some designs of her own before settling on an of-the-shelf piece. It's implied but not stated in the source that she's personally invested and not just going through motions.

Also, what's the point of doing one with a battery? We *have* those already! Her idea would be great in a pinch if the longevity could be fixed. Which Google prize money or venture capital would allow. Am I missing something?

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44172395)

The longevity can't be "fixed", it depends exclusively on environment and for a given environment it won`t change, Google prize money or not. It is an interesting idea for a high school science project but it is not really a viable product.

If you want to convert body energy into light there are dynamo based flashlights that are far more efficient to do this and do not lack this design hindrances.

Re:Hope she's learned something (0)

evilviper (135110) | about 9 months ago | (#44173141)

She bought a peltier, and hooked it up to a joule thief circuit design she found online. She's learning something about finding electronic components, and putting them together, but that's not a science experiement.

Re:Hope she's learned something (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 10 months ago | (#44172595)

Well, we all learned you're an idiot because you haven't learned anything important.

Re:Hope she's learned something (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#44172975)

More importantly, like many "alternative energy" devices, this one doesn't actually generate any renewable energy once you take into account the huge amount of energy needed for making the components.

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44173411)

Perhaps; However if you also take into account the cost of generating, transmitting, and storing electricity, making a battery, and add in losses from that battery being unused for most of a flashlight's lifespan, then you might be surprised at the comparative efficiency of this approach.

Re:Hope she's learned something (1)

quax (19371) | about 9 months ago | (#44173099)

".... where ambient temps are remotely similar to body temperature."

She's from CANADA you insensitive klutz.

5mw is small, but not worthless (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 10 months ago | (#44171991)

She said she's getting about 5mw of power from it, which sounds pretty decent from just a 5 degC temperature differential *and* using circuitry to increase the voltage. Should be quite visible in the dark, even enough to read from if held close to a book. At least until the aluminum heats up from her hand and the hole in the middle turns out to be inadequate to sink enough heat to maintain the temperature differential under most conditions (though she's in Canada, so maybe that's not such a problem there :-) ).

In comparison typical 2000mAh alkaline AA cell can support 5mw for about 600 hours, but if you can't afford alkaline batteries (or are someplace where you don't have easy access to them), then this flashlight may be better than nothing. Though a crank-up generator flashlight might be brighter and more usable.

It may not save the world, but it's a great science fair project.

Re:5mw is small, but not worthless (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#44172175)

I wonder if it would work better as a glove, with the heat source (your hand) completely enclosed, and more surface area (the outside surface area, not the interior of a tube) to be chilled by the air.

Re:5mw is small, but not worthless (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#44172835)

In comparison typical 2000mAh alkaline AA cell can support 5mw for about 600 hours, but if you can't afford alkaline batteries (or are someplace where you don't have easy access to them), then this flashlight may be better than nothing. Though a crank-up generator flashlight might be brighter and more usable.

It's not a question of affording AA batteries in some scenarios, it's a matter of getting them or being certain they'll work.

Alkaline batteries have a shelf life. I once worked in a machine shop at a mine. As one of the lowest level peons one of my glorious tasks was testing all the battery powered devices in the shop and once every 2 months, replacing all the replaceable batteries in all the battery powered devices (regardless of if they worked) as if one torch (flashlight for the Americans) didn't work the safety inspectors would tear us a new one. Rechargeable were strictly verboten for safety devices as they had a terrible shelf life.

If the company replaced every single torch in the place with a version that didn't need batteries they'd save a mint. Hundreds of units per site.

Also, I can think of places that dont have regular supply or carrying spare batteries is wasteful like onboard ships or remote bases that get a resupply ship every 6 months where this would be useful.

EMERGENCY LIGHT - winter! (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 10 months ago | (#44172903)

Ever have a flashlight in a car? not only do the batteries wear out but in the winter they don't work either! This thing will work well in the cold and for short periods at other times... and not at all in the summer.

Re:EMERGENCY LIGHT - winter! (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 10 months ago | (#44173005)

Ever have a flashlight in a car? not only do the batteries wear out but in the winter they don't work either! This thing will work well in the cold and for short periods at other times... and not at all in the summer.

I think even your "dead" batteries are going to put out more light than this 5mw light. I keep a 2 AA LED light in the car with lithium batteries (and an extra set of batteries) -- lithium's last much longer than alkalines, have a 10 year shelf life and work fine even in termperatures well below zero. That's in addition to the 3D cell Maglite in the trunk, which has never failed me even though I only rotate the batteries out every year or two.

Too bad she is pretty (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172065)

I am very sorry to see she is quite a good looking girl. After a few years, she will be with all likelihood 100% invested in the dating/marriage game and be expecting the man/men to support her and we won't ever see anything else from her.

Re:Too bad she is pretty (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#44172181)

You know, I don't think I've ever heard someone say "too bad she's pretty" before, especially in this context.

Re:Too bad she is pretty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172673)

Just an FYI - I knew an Oxford genetics researcher who wasreally pretty - she dyed her hair brown and wore glasses because she felt that people took her more seriously when she resorted to such tactics. Having been on the receiving end of patronising behaviour myself, I know where she's coming from. After all, when geniuses like Andy Schlafly tell us that men are more intelligent than women, who can possibly argue?

Re:Too bad she is pretty (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#44172789)

Just an FYI - I knew an Oxford genetics researcher who wasreally pretty - she dyed her hair brown and wore glasses because she felt that people took her more seriously when she resorted to such tactics. Having been on the receiving end of patronising behaviour myself, I know where she's coming from. After all, when geniuses like Andy Schlafly tell us that men are more intelligent than women, who can possibly argue?

Um, any sapient person?

Re:Too bad she is pretty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172875)

Sure, but what about the republicans?

Re:Too bad she is pretty (3)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#44172339)

Dude, in a few years she'll be doing great things and you'll still be living in your parents' basement wishing you had an organic girlfriend.

Re:Too bad she is pretty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172409)

When did you last time see a pretty woman doing great things like that? Woman is either fugly and has no choice but study, or pretty and not compelled to do anything besides her hair and nails. This is the way how things are.

Re:Too bad she is pretty (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#44172493)

When did you last time see a pretty woman doing great things like that?

My goodness, did you go to college? Work anywhere that had employees? I've been in classes with, studied under, and worked with numerous gorgeous women. From that subset of classmates, many are doing great things today.

If you need an example from the famous super-genius echelon, the one that comes to mind most immediately would be Lisa Randall [youtube.com], though frankly it's the sapiosexual qualities that do it for me.

Re:Too bad she is pretty (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 9 months ago | (#44173391)

When did you last time see a pretty woman doing great things like that? Woman is either fugly and has no choice but study, or pretty and not compelled to do anything besides her hair and nails. This is the way how things are.

The most beautiful woman I ever met was a mathematician who was working on her Phd. Her idea of small talk was Pi. When she walked down a hallway every man she passed literally stopped walking as soon as she passed by and drank her in. I have never seen men behave that way, before or since.

One of my cousins is a lawyer who worked through college as a fashion model.

Perhaps one day you'll get to move out of Mom's basement.

Re:Too bad she is pretty (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 10 months ago | (#44172479)

The real question is: how much her prettiness helped her to win the Google science fair? The contest works both ways: a person who wins has his/her image associated to Google. Would Google choose a ugly person?

Re:Too bad she is pretty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172685)

Why is this the 'real question'?

Crappy summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172135)

No, of course I haven't read TFA. I'm really not interested in expounding on what a highschooler is interested in before knowing just what this said-to-be-neat little thing is and does. I'm not here for the human interest angle on youthful inventors of gadgets.

THE GADGETS COME FIRST, DAMMIT. Editor, fire thyself.

... when I realized that humans are ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172155)

"a great source of untapped thermal energy", said The Architect, while holding an unborn human fetus.

20 minutes (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#44172159)

I'm assuming it works until the temperature differential equals out to something that the peltier tiles can't use, then it has to cool off. Immediate thought was that putting it in the fridge (or better yet freezer) for a few minutes would cool down the tube and provide for an even larger temperature differential during use, until the temperature again equals out.

So, for continuous use, the obvious solution is to pack the hollow tube with a miniature refrigeration unit, run on batteries.

Waaaait a minute...

Re:20 minutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172323)

or use a heatpipe and a handguard for the cooling side, like that used in a rapier basket.

Get OFF my Lawn! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172271)

I can not believe the comments I am reading here. There are initiatives all over the world to get more females into STEM stuff and everyone here seems to quibble about the technical details! She's a teenager. I first learned about the Peltier effect in my 4th year at University, yes that was 40 years ago. My kids didn't learn about it in their High Schools either. So much for the U.S. education system. Give the kid a break!

Wrong effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172501)

This operates from the Seebeck effect. The Peltier effect generates temperature differentials from input electricity.

rc helicopter (-1)

Jenny Belly (2970471) | about 10 months ago | (#44172561)

Rctophobby is your online radio control expert. We are designed to help you get top-quality radio control models delivered right to your door fast and secure. rc helicopter [rctophobby.com]

Am I really the first to say it? (5, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | about 10 months ago | (#44172571)

She just invented a new flashlight, and wants to use "energy that surrounds but we never really use."

Like, the energy that surrounds us and penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together? Her "long time interest" is clearly building a light saber.

Why does it only last 20 minutes? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 10 months ago | (#44172619)

Shouldn't it work as long as the ambient temperature is lower than body temperature?

Or does the battery she put in it after not getting it working in time only last that long?

Re:Why does it only last 20 minutes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172859)

hand hot. hand warm lighty thing, make light no light. :(

Re:Why does it only last 20 minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44173161)

It only works by temperature differential through the substrate. Eventually the substrate heats to nearly the temperature of her hand and the power generated drops. She used a hollow metal core which would have a fairly high mass to heat up and would also radiate into the environment, but apparently not enough heat was being radiated.

Next question would be is there enough spare energy for a fan in the middle? Then you could use heat fins to the center and force air through the cylinder to get more cooling.

Why is this interesting? (0)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 10 months ago | (#44172917)

Not to be harsh but why is this on slashdot? Is it because it was invented by a young female? (If a nerdy boy with really thick glasses invented it, would people care less? Probably.)

Reasons why the light is not interesting:

1. She is using an established technology (Seebeck effect), Peltier coolers are commonplace.

2. It runs for up to 20 minutes.

3. It isn't that bright.

4. You have to have to hold it for it to work.

When I use a light to see in the dark, I generally either (a) want it to be really bright and/or (b) I don't want to hold it so that I can have my hands free to work. This device satisfies neither of those objectives.

Re:Why is this interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44173275)

Because it is exactly that thing that should be on /. Oh, and you suck, BTW.

Cool. I suggested something similar like that .... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 10 months ago | (#44172933)

about 8 years ago on this site. However, I was suggesting it for buoys, as well as road signs. What peltier counts on, is temp differentials. So, if a post is 3' in the ground, then the temp is normally different than air. By simply designing a system to carry heat up and down, then it is possible to get the difference. The buoy is even easier. The air is rarely the same temp as water. As such, it would be possible to charge a battery or even an ultra-cap to provide power during the x-over.

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44173091)

one could call it a Fleshlight?

she got the idea off youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44173209)

There are plenty of video on youtube - peltier to generate electricity

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