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Jennifer Rubio The last time that I used a flip phone was three hours and 24 minutes ago. This is my phone. It flips open like so. A lot of people might callthis flip phone design, an “old phone,” as someoneat the airport security called it. I was like “No, I just bought this!” I just got my first phone everthis September, just four months ago,when I had to get a phone, because I was going off to college,and I needed to make long distance calls. Let’s get this straight for a minute. I’m 18 years old,and I’ve never had a phone. And I’ve been very privileged to live on the beautiful islandof Vancouver Island where everyonethere basically has phones, that means I lived through allof high school and middle school without a phone. Carrying around a flip phone is notconventionally considered nowadays as being a “cool kid,”but I’m here to tell you today that carrying a flip phoneat the age of 18 definitely defines you as a “cool kid.” So, my name is Ann Makosinski;I’m 18 years old; I’m from Canada. And I suppose you couldcall me an inventor. It’s actually funnybecause when I was a kid, I actually identifiedwith the term “differentist,” which was something that I made up, which is where I justwanted to be different, and even though it may not appearthat I am a “differentist” nowadays – I dress like everyone else,I talk like everyone else – I was actually almost, in a way,trained from the get-go to be different. So how was I trained”to be different” as a kid, was that my parents never gave methat many toys at all. I didn’t have a Tamagotchi, a Nintendo,a Wii, an Xbox, nothing. What they gave me,however, was a hot glue gun, and I had to make my own toys. That’s where the first area of mewas almost being put in a position, or almost forced to be in a positionwhere I had to be creative in solving one of the first problemsyou ever have as a kid which is how to keep yourself entertained. (Video) Ann Makosinski: This inventionwas my second invention, and it is called “Creation.” The one I just showed youis called “Invention” because that’s the first one I made. Now this one: you see this flat one? It’s posed, so he can sit down on him. Or I can sit down on him, Creation. But I don’t sit very longbecause he can break. (On stage) AM: That was my firstexperience with creating things. Other than not being giventhat many toys, some toys that I was given were a bit oddcompared to my friends’ toys and actually here’s a photo of meplaying with my first set of toys which was a box of transistorsand electronic components. It was really from the start here that I was introduced to the worldof making things with my hands, which I feel is a skill that’s almostbeing lost in some areas nowadays as actually becomingquite high in demand for jobs if you can actually do thingsinstead of typing all the time. So, I was always making thingsand being engaged. As a kid, I wasn’t allowed out very muchon playdates and things like that, until I had finished all my choresand practiced my piano – I’m sure lots of you can relate. My parents camefrom different backgrounds. One was from Polandand the other from the Philippines. It’s funny because a lotof parents come up to me and they’re genuinely very concerned about whether they should givetheir kids toys or not. What I generally advise -not that I’m an expert – is that if as long as you don’tgive your kid this many toys, I think you’ll be okay, but what I foundwas that creativity, for me, and making thingswas born out of a necessity, because I didn’t havethat many things to play with. I really think it’s importantto encourage your kids because I know as parents you wantto give your kids the world, to give them everything you have. My dad was a skateboarder back in the day,and when I was, I think 13 or 14, I was like, “Oh well, I want to learnhow to skateboard and be cool.” And I was just given a skateboard. It is still sittingin my room in the corner, and I have never touched it. What happened wasthat I was just like, “Cool! I got a skateboard,I can skateboard now,” and I just left it. If I had been given,for example, just the wheels, and then I had to get a little job,and work for it, do chores around the house,get an allowance, save up, design the boardand then put it all together, I would have valuedthat whole experience so much more that I would actually probablybe a pro skateboarder by now or something like that. So I think it’s really importantwhen you’re in your younger years for people to encourage youin your passions but not to give you everythingto give you that head start. Because I wasn’t given many toys,I got entertained by almost anything. I think I’m smelling a rock here,I was a pretty insightful kid. I have to be honest with you and say that I’m not very “culturally”educated in some aspects. For example, I was brought up watchinga lot of 1920s and 1930s films. I’ve never watched Star Wars or Star Trek. Don’t kill me, it’s just notsomething that I’ve watched. For some reason, this fact of just nothaving a phone, as a teenager, limited my time talking with people. But I never felt like, “Oh my God,I’m missing out by not having a phone.” And, as some teenagers heremay know, it’s called “FOMO,” which is: Fear Of Missing Out. I never had that becauseI was so content with what I was given and how much more I had to pursue. So, what did I do in my spare time? Well, when I was in middle school, I was definitely not what you wouldconsider a “cool kid.” I was not the person who would be like,”I also want to hang out with them.” Because first of all,in middle school and high school you are really judged a lot, and I was very unconfident,at first, of how I appeared. I had short hair, glasses, braces.I dressed in guys’ clothes. I didn’t have the coolest stuff. People would come up to me and be like,”Oh, what a handsome boy you are!” and I’d be like, “Thanks!” and just walk away. So, I was definitely quite a loner, but I did look upto some people in my life. While a lot of teens had modern pop stars,actresses or actors they looked up to – which I totally respectand I have some too – who I looked up to was a little different,and I couldn’t always relate with them. For example, my family has the privilege of helping outwith Ravi Shankar’s archives. Ravi Shankar was a musician who brought the whole Indian cultureand music from the East to the West in the 60s and 70s, and really helped generate the hippie movement. He worked with George Harrison. We had the privilege as a kid,to travel to California, and each summer, I would learn from him,and learn how his love and passion for what he was doing, bringing inand introducing it to people who had never seenany of this stuff before. It was something that he loved so much. That really inspired me and one time,we went and visited his family in India. I was so shockedby the poverty there. That was the first time I had everexperienced something like that, and I was around eight years old then.It was a huge shock. Another time, we went and visitedsome family in the Philippines, and I saw houses like this, which you don’t see regularlywhere I come from, in Canada. I was just so taken aback. I didn’t fit in; I knew there wereproblems in the world, and I wanted to find a wayto fix it simply. But I never thought I couldaccomplish any of that because I was just a regular teenwho nobody really seemed to like except for a coupleof outcast friends I also had. So, the two things my parentsnoticed that I loved to do was to tinker and to talk. So I was enrolled in something that a lotof popular kids in high school do – just kidding – which is the Science Fair. So, this is me in grade six.I looked like Harry Potter. I was very proudof this project by the way. I was comparing laundry detergents. So, I started making projects, and I started to get into the areaof energy harvesting. I had the inspiration for my projectwhen one of my friends in the Philippines told me that she failedher grade in school because she couldn’t afford electricity. She didn’t have any lightto study with at night. This brought me back to my childhood dayswhere I had a problem that, in the beginning, was for myself:to find a way to entertain myself. So, I’d make my own inventionsand my own toys. But here was a problemthat my friend had, and I was like, “Well, why can’t I invent a wayto maybe help her out?” So for that, I made something that you may know me for,as “The Flashlight Girl,” which is a flashlight that runson the heat of the human hand. That brought meto a whole new journey where I suddenly learnedto be confident in who I was, because at first, to be honest, I didn’t think anyone wouldever be interested in my project. To go to places like the Google ScienceFair, and Intel, was absolutely amazing, to see that people were reallyinspired by what I was doing. This year I presented my latest invention,which is called “the eDrink.” It’s a coffee mug that utilizesthe excess heat of your hot drink while you’re waiting for it to cool down,and converts it into electricity. So you can eventuallycharge your phone or iPod from it. Just because you’re in college,and that you’re a “university student” does not mean that’sthe only thing you are. That does not mean that like,”You know, I’m in university.” You leave it at that,not doing anything else. You can pursue whatever you want to do,and start when you’re in high school. When I was in middle school,I started making stuff with electronics. You can do whatever you want.Anything you can dream of is possible. But you have to start and work on iteven if it’s just 20 minutes a day. That’s what I really wantedto emphasize today is that you have more opportunityand time to create when you have less. When you’re given less to start off with, your brain is designed to come upwith different ways to solve your problems and to solve other people’sproblems and issues. I think that’s so important to emphasize,especially in today’s society where excess,like buying this and getting that, “That’s the latest fashion,I should be wearing that, and throw outeverything else that I have,” is kind of the trend. I really think in a way that’s goingto sound slightly controversial but I truly believe that disconnectinghelps you connect and create more. You don’t think about it,but you’ll pick up your phone, you’ll check it a couple secondsor a minute, ever so often, you think, “I’m brieflychecking my phone.” But if you add up every single minute,every single second you spend on your phone per day,it’s pretty terrifying. Really minimizing your distractions, so you can use your timemost effectively is really important. If there is one thingI can leave you with today, for all of you who possess phonesor even other small electronic devices, it is that the next timeyou pick up your phone, think of all the possibilities”off” your phone and not “on” it. Thank you. (Applause)