This spate of energy harvesting stories that you've done (footsteps, shorts and now flashlights) really points out how fast energy harvesting is coming at us. Each new story is more amazing than the last. If you look at Airbus' plane of 2050, there's a lot of energy harvesting applications on it.
Elizabeth, I agree on both counts. Now if we could get more kids off the video games and interested in doing things...
There are other types of flashlights that use movement to produce electricity and capacitors to store it. In this case neither are needed. It is important and useful to have a light source that does not depend on batteries or other external power sources. In emergency situations you don't want to have to wonder when you last checked those batteries.
What is interesting about a device that uses a delta-T to produce a delta-V is that this is the same principle that is used for nuclear power generators found in deep space probes. What an interesting juxtaposition of applications.
I can't say enough how impressed I am not only with this invention, but also with young Ann, who sees the bigger picture of how technology can change the world more than some adults I know. With great minds like this developing and wanting to make a real contribution, I feel optimistic about the future of science and technology in the U.S. and how some young minds have the potential to really make a difference. Plus it is just cool to not have to worry about batteries for a flashlight! And if this can be applied to a flashlight, think of the other applications.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.