Ontario Science Centre awards 2014 Weston Youth Innovation Award to Victoria, B.C. teen innovator

Ann Makosinski shines the brightest with thermoelectric flashlight

TORONTO, June 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Lots of people talk about making the world a better place, but how many actually take action? Ann Makosinski hopes her thermoelectric flashlight will help students whose homes do not have electricity to power lights at night. The Ontario Science Centre has awarded the 16-year-old from Victoria, B.C. the 2014 Weston Youth Innovation Award for applying science in a creative way to make a positive difference in the world.

"It's truly wonderful to be recognized for my curiosity and creativity," said Ann Makosinski, 2014 West Youth Innovation Award recipient. "This award will allow me to develop my ideas further and help out people along the way. I want to make sure my invention is available to people who need it."

Makosinski was inspired by a visit to the Philippines, during which she discovered that many children are unable to study at home in the evenings due to the lack of electricity to power lighting . After spending several years working with piezoelectric technology and other forms of electricity generation, she came up with the idea of using Peltier tiles to convert body heat into enough electricity to power an LED bulb. She calls her invention the "Hollow Flashlight," a nod to the hollow aluminum tube that runs through the centre of the device. She is currently working on an iteration of the thermoelectric flashlight: a headband flashlight powered by the heat of the human head, which would allow children to read hands-free in the dark.

"The entire panel was impressed by Ann's imagination and dedication to her work," said Dr. Hooley McLaughlin, Vice-President Science Experience and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "We look forward to seeing more of Ann's innovative projects in the future as she continues her work as an engaged scientist and global citizen."

The Weston Youth Innovation Award was established in 2008 to encourage and recognize young Canadian innovators. It was named in recognition of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation's $15-million lead gift to the Ontario Science Centre's Agents of Change initiative and to honour The Foundation's support and commitment to education.  Makosinski's project was selected for the award by a panel of judges, including:  Dr. Kyla Sask, Coordinator, Engineering Enrichment and Outreach, Ryerson University; Mike Serbinis, Founder and Vice Chair, Kobo Inc.; Joe Deklic, Vice-President, Strategic Investments Group, Cisco Systems Canada; and Dr. Hooley McLaughlin.

"Our family is proud to support the Weston Youth Innovation Award which celebrates inspirational young Canadians like Ann who tackle real-word problems head on with creativity and innovation," said Tamara Rebanks, Director, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

Makosinski will be awarded the $2,000 prize at the Ontario Science Centre on June 17, 2014. In addition, she will work with a multimedia team at the Science Centre to create an animation to showcase her project, which will be displayed in the Weston Family Innovation Centre and shared via the Science Centre's social media channels. More information about Makosinski's award-winning project can be found at www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca/innovationaward.

The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges the communities we serve, enriching people's lives and understanding through engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. Since 1969, the Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 48 million visitors, with an interactive approach that was the model for Science Centres around the world. It is the public centre for innovative thinking and provocative dialogue in science and technology, aiming to inspire a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet.  Please visit us at OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation, established in the 1950's by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta. In 1924 Garfield inherited his father's company and during his life established baking and retail businesses throughout Canada and in many parts of the world. The founders believed that as the funds are generated through the hard work and success of these Canadian companies, grants should be given in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. For three generations, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has maintained a family tradition of supporting charitable organizations across Canada. Today the Foundation directs the majority of its funds to projects in the fields of land conservation, education, and scientific research in Canada's North. In addition, it provides funds to further Canada's research in neuroscience.

SOURCE: Ontario Science Centre

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