This Phone-Charging Coffee Mug Was Invented by a Teenager

Ann Makosinski's resume already includes first prize in her age group at the 2013 Google Science Fair, two Tonight Show appearances, and a mug that uses heat energy to charge your phone. And now, Popular Science has named her their young inventor of the year.

Of all her accomplishments "eDrink" is likely the University of British Columbia student's biggest claim to fame. The secret behind the phone-charging mug is a layer of peltier tiles that use the temperature differences between their two sides to generate electricity. Users can harness this energy by plugging their phones into the USB port on the bottom of the cup and sip their coffee as it charges. eDrink produces enough electricity to charge a phone for 30 minutes at a time.

Makosinski was inspired to invent the high-tech mug after noticing her friends were always low on phone power. She also noticed that their coffee was taking too long to cool down, so she decided to solve both problems with one innovative solution.

Figuring out how to harness electricity from heat wasn't too much of a stretch for Makosinski. She already had experience working with peltier tiles to create a heat-powered flashlight, which runs on the body heat released from your hand as you hold it. That invention earned her a $25,000 scholarship in 2013, while her new gadget won her a $50,000 Quest Climate Change Grant from Shell this past December.

As for what's next on the horizon, the 18-year-old has said she'd like to get both her mug and flashlight into stores (especially those in developing countries) sometime this year. In the meantime, she also has classwork on her plate.

Header/banner images via Twitter.

[h/t Popular Science]

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Live Smarter
Improve Your Chopping Skills With This Knife-Cutting Board Hybrid
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Chopping ingredients properly is an impressive skill, and for those who haven’t mastered it yet, this part of the cooking process can be a pain. Luckily, it is possible to do your slicing and dicing without the awkward hand positions and frequent slip-ups. All you need is a knife that stays attached to the board where you’re doing the cutting.

Spotted over at Mashable, spéciale is a high-quality walnut cutting board that comes with a 17-inch Damascus steel knife built in. Whether you’re breaking down fruits, vegetables, cheese, or charcuterie, the blade can rotate across the board as you cut while the tip stays fixed in place. This leaves one hand free, so you don’t have to pause to put down your glass of wine before the chopping starts.

The designers focused on aesthetics along with functionality, so when the board is not being used in the kitchen it doubles as a serving platter. And after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the fruit of your labors, you can pop the knife off the board for easy clean-up.

Spéciale recently wrapped up a campaign on Kickstarter where it raised more than $150,500, and prior to that it debuted on Indiegogo, where it raised nearly $170,000. The product is still available to order through the Indiegogo page for $195.

[h/t Mashable]

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Retro Games Limited
The Commodore 64 Will Return as a Mini Console With Dozens of Games
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Retro Games Limited

Today’s video games may be more innovative than ever, but that doesn’t stop many from returning to the old-school games that remind them of their childhood. Following Nintendo’s massive success with the NES Classic in 2016 and the SNES Classic in September, the Commodore 64 is set to be the next vintage gaming device to get a miniature makeover. As Nerdist reports, Retro Games Limited will release a plug-and-play version of the 1982 bestseller in 2018.

The C64 Mini will be half the size of the original Commodore 64 computer and will feature 64 retro 8-bit titles, including Impossible Mission, Armalyte, Paradroid, and California Games. The kit will include a joystick, an HDMI cable for hooking up the console to your TV, and a USB power cable for charging it.

The console will have two USB ports that can be used to connect an extra joystick or plug in a full-sized keyboard to use the C64 Mini for simple coding. This could be especially useful when you get bored of the pre-loaded games and want to program a new one of your own from scratch.

The C64 Mini is set to retail for around $70 when it hits shelves in 2018, making it $10 cheaper than the newly-released SNES classic. Retro Games also plans to revive a full-sized version of the original Commodore 64 to sell in 2018. For an idea of what that might look like, check out this classic Commodore 64 how-to video from 1982.

[h/t Nerdist]


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