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]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Logitech
arrow
Live Smarter
This $40 Wireless Keyboard is Solar-Powered and Might Just Revolutionize Your Workspace
Logitech
Logitech

Meet the $40 solar-powered keyboard that's about to make your life a whole lot easier.

The Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard can be charged by sunlight as well as artificial lights, like your desk lamp, and stays juiced up for at least three months in total darkness. With this innovative gadget, Logitech is eliminating the annoyances that come with other wireless keyboards, like constantly having to change the batteries or plug it in to recharge. Best of all, the Windows-compatible model is on sale at Amazon for $39.99, down from $59.99. Never fear, Mac users—there's a model for you, too (although it's slightly pricier at $54.88).

(Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy.)

Having a reliable wireless keyboard can save you time and undue stress, whether you work in a cubicle or a home office. Plus, at one third of an inch thick, the keyboard is so sleek that Logitech compares it to typing on a laptop (and Amazon reviewers agree). You can monitor the gadget's power level by downloading the Logitech Solar App for your computer. Setting it up is easy: Just plug the receiver into your computer and you're done. It also comes with a three-year warranty for peace of mind.

solar keyboard
Logitech

Customers rave about this gadget on Amazon: One person writes that it's "the single best keyboard I have ever owned." Another loyal customer notes, "I first encountered one at work, and I liked it so much that when I switched jobs, I had to get another!"

Take advantage of this deal on Amazon while you can. While you're at it, check out the $95 mattress that Amazon customers are losing their minds over.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Days Inn
arrow
technology
Days Inn's New LED Umbrella Makes Gloomy Days Sunnier
Days Inn
Days Inn

Taking a walk outside is a quick way to feel better—unless it's raining. If you're someone who loves sunshine and clear skies, you may use gloomy weather as an excuse to lock yourself indoors for the whole day. A new type of umbrella from Days Inn may prompt you to reconsider. The hotel chain's Days InnBrella uses built-in LED strips to provide you with a personal patch of light even on the dreariest days.

The new product takes the umbrella's timelessly practical design one step further. As the fabric keeps you dry, the interior lights each generate 4000 LUX (a unit used to measure the amount of light striking a surface). It's no replacement for bright sunlight, but its glow should hopefully give you the mood boost you need the next time you're walking in the rain.

Woman with illuminated umbrella.
Days Inn

If you're over 18 and have a Twitter account, you're eligible to win a free Days InnBrella of your own. Just retweet this tweet from Days Inn before June 26 to enter the contest. The five winners will be selected on June 27.

Days Inn isn't the first brand to give the classic umbrella an upgrade. KAZbrella stays drip-free by closing inside-out, and Oombrella gives weather forecasts and alerts you when you leave it behind.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios