Saanich teen Ann Makosinski, whose body heat-powered flashlight won her the 2013 Google Science Fair, was in New York this week as one of the first guests ever on NBC’s The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
The 16-year-old St. Michaels University School student appeared in a segment called ‘Fallonventions’ on Wednesday night’s show (Fallon’s third episode since taking over as host). The segment featured three youths and their creations, while the comedian host also showed off his “inventions.”
After Makosinski demonstrated the flashlight, Fallon showed her his invention – prefacing it by telling her that it might blow her mind.
His invention, the Granola Bowla, was an edible cereal bowl.
“(Your invention is) good and everything, but you can’t eat it,” Fallon said.
“I’m going to work for her one day; I can feel it,” Fallon added after Makosinski finished her segment.
All the young inventors were given $5,000 courtesy of General Electric to put towards their education.
“GE wants young minds to dream big and to make the impossible possible,” Fallon said.
Since winning the Google Science Fair last year, Makosinski and her invention have been featured by news outlets worldwide. She was also named one of Time magazine’s 30 under 30 in 2013.
Makosinski invented the flashlight after learning that a friend in the Philippines has having trouble in school.
“She was really smart,” Makosinski told the News in an interview earlier this year. “She said she didn’t have any electricity at home, so she couldn’t study after doing her house chores because she didn’t have any light to see.
“I thought, why not create a flashlight that works on the thermal energy of humans?”
Since capturing the attention of many around the world, Makosinski hopes to have the flashlight on the market in the next few years.
“I am in contact with a few companies right now, so it perhaps might be on the market down the road in a few years,” she said.
She says she’s also looking to keep her momentum running through 2014 and is chasing a patent for her flashlight’s design.
“I’m trying to make it brighter right now,” she said, “to make the voltage more efficient. It needs to be brighter to compete with flashlights using batteries.”
She’s also trying to start a non-profit company of her own and wants to keep hold of the legal rights to her flashlight, which would enable her to help students and others like her friend in the Philippines.
“For every amount of flashlights sold, I could set aside some flashlights to give to people in need, people in the Philippines or developing countries that need it to study or work,” she said. “I also hope to see these flashlights in emergency kits.”
– with files from Kolby Solinsky