Meet our fixing hero: serial inventor and all-round DIY fixpert, Ann Makosinski

‘I believe you can’t be blinded by the amazing technology around you. You have to think of it always as inadequate, and come up with ideas to improve it’ - Ann Makosinski.

Ann Makosinski at her desk fixing tech

Swapping buying toys for making toys. 

Ann Makosinski grew up in Canada without siblings. Her parents didn’t believe in just giving Ann regular toys. As a kid, one of the first things she was given to play with was a box of transistors. This unconventional parental approach may have been behind Ann’s first childhood creations. Since then, her curiosity for invention continues to grow. At aged seven, Ann began experimenting with a hot glue gun and random household items – building and creating her own toys. She describes that ‘they never worked, but the idea of taking the resources around me and piecing them together to make something better or
to solve a problem was kind of there from the start.’ 

Turning curiosity into creativity.

When Ann was fifteen, a conversation with her friend Mindanao in the Philippines got her thinking. Mindanao’s family could not afford electricity, and without light, she was unable to study in the evenings. Her friend’s dilemma motivated her to apply the knowledge she’d acquired about energy-harvesting materials from one of her childhood of innovations.

The materials used to build her prototype cost a mere $26, and Ann’s intention was always to make the device freely available to those in the developing world. Anne’s creativity and passion for science led to her invention of the Hollow Flashlight. The device converts radiant body heat into electricity, which powers an LED bulb without the need for batteries or kinetic energy. Both ergonomic and thermodynamically efficient, the device went on to win the Google Science Fair Award in 2013 and introduced the invention to worldwide acclaim.

Becoming a role model by age 20.

Makosinski is still only 20 years old and continues to grow her portfolio of inventions. They are all super-resourceful and aim to harvest surplus energy for everyday uses. Since the Hollow Flashlight, she has created a mug that harvests the heat from a hot drink to charge a phone. Her new invention allows people to charge their phone on the go, without the need to use crude electricity. Ann also speaks publicly about her endeavours, inspiring millions of us to think differently about everyday objects, and embrace our inner inventor!

Want to discover more inspiring fixing stories? Check out our fixing is good page.