B.C. teen's phone-charging mug nets $50,000 prize, 'Tonight Show' appearance
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, December 29, 2015 9:04AM EST
A British Columbia teen's novel invention has earned her $50,000, an appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon and a fully-charged phone.
Ann Makosinski, 18, is a first-year student in UBC's Arts One program, and the brains behind the "eDrink mug."
The innovative device harnesses the heat from warm beverages and converts it into enough electricity to charge a cell phone or iPod.
Makosinski says she got the idea for the eDrink mug when she noticed two common problems her friends were experiencing.
"The first (problem) was that their phones were always running out of battery way too quickly, and the second was that their coffee was taking too long to cool down before they could finally fix it," the teen told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday. "So I decided to combine both of those issues and create the eDrink."
Makosinski's eDrink prototype looks like a regular stainless steel mug, but inside the base are plates called Peltier tiles.
When the mug is filled with a hot beverage, the drink heats one side of the tiles while the tabletop and metal base cool the other side, producing electricity, Makosinski explained.
The useful invention caught the eye of talk show host Jimmy Fallon, who invited Makosinski onto his show in October. It also earned Makosinski a $50,000 Quest Climate Change Grant.
And the eDrink isn't the teen's first creation.
She also earned recognition for her "hollow flashlight," which uses Peltier tiles to harvest heat from the user's hand in order to light a bulb.
That invention netted her $25,000 from the Google Science Fair in 2013.
Makosinski says she still has work to do before she perfects her eDrink mug, but she doesn't plan to stop dreaming up new inventions any time soon.
"I've always just been tinkering and making things since I was a kid," Makosinski said. "I define myself as a creative person and inventor."