B.C. teen's phone-charging mug nets $50,000 prize, 'Tonight Show' appearance

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.

See Full Article

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."


Latest Tech & Science News

  • Energy saving rules mean more net zero home builds, incentives to retrofit older homes

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The federal government wants existing homes to be more energy efficient and for developers to build more net zero homes. Very shortly the Liberal government is expected to introduce changes to the national building code that will require builders to include more net zero homes — buildings that produce as much energy as they use — in housing developments in the next 15 years. Source
  • Sunflower sea star nearly wiped out by virus in B.C., Washington waters: report

    Tech & Science CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- There was once a galaxy of sunflower sea stars in the Salish Sea off the B.C. and Washington state coasts, but a new study says the animal's near disappearance from the ocean floor should be of special concern. Source
  • Canadians now spending more on Internet access than on television

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA - Canadians spent more on Internet access than television services for the first time last year, according to a report by the CRTC. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said that in 2015 communications service industry revenues from Internet access were $9.8 billion, while subscription television services accounted for $8.9 billion. Source
  • Stop looking at your phone: Majority of Canadians support legislation to ban distracted walking

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A new poll suggests the majority of Canadians are in support of regulations to ban distracted walking. Market research company Insights West asked 1,013 people across the country if they would support or oppose legislation that would forbid the use of hand-held cellphones while walking in roadways such as intersections. Source
  • Robotics conference in Beijing highlights intelligent robots

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Air Date: Oct 26, 2016 12:59 PM ET Source
  • Amazon's Alexa voice assistant arrives on Fire tablets

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Amazon's Fire tablets are getting the Alexa voice assistant. The previously announced feature will start rolling out to customers Wednesday. It's meant to complement what users get on other Alexa devices, such as the Echo speaker. Source
  • Rehabilitated orangutans freed in Borneo as species dwindles

    Tech & Science CTV News
    KEHJE SEWEN FOREST, Indonesia -- Jamur didn't hesitate as the door of her temporary cramped quarters slid open. In less than a second, the stocky red-haired orangutan was savoring freedom for the first time in nearly two decades. Source
  • Muskrat Falls unrest simmered for years: a look back at methylmercury concerns

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Concerns over methylmercury contamination at Muskrat Falls boiled over this month, but tensions around the multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project in Labrador have been percolating for years. Protesters marched on the Muskrat Falls construction site twice this month — worried that impending flooding would result in dangerous levels of methylmercury in Lake Melville, and would contaminate fish, seal and seabirds downstream. Source
  • 'There's no way for you to know': Why so-called smart devices are putting us all at risk

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Last Friday's massive cyberattacks should serve as a "wake-up call" and a warning to consumers that smart devices designed to make our lives more convenient are also making us unsafe, security analysts warn. Source
  • Updates and fixes in store for iOS and Android

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A few weeks after launching the latest versions of their mobile operating systems iOS and Android, Apple and Google are both rolling out updates to fix bugs and bring new functions to the platforms. iOS 10.1 Source