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62 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2019 recharge it. Then, I remembered a scene from the movie "Big Hero Six," where a little tur- bine flies in the air. I thought, "That's aerial energy!" Later, I read an article about a large part of Africa and India that does not have elec- tricity but does have a lot of wind. I thought, "What if I build an airborne wind energy sys- tem tethered to a kite to convert wind energy into electrical energy?" Instead of making a big generator, I went for something that was small, using easily obtained materials within my budget. It satis- fied my need, and everything fits into a back- pack. Its features—including being low-cost, compact, and low-maintenance—make it effective in developing countries and remote and offshore areas. My school project, though, wasn't meant to be a breakthrough in science or research of an important topic; it started out as something I tinkered with, combining my interest in kites with a practical solution. Then, it evolved into a plausible application that might benefit someone else's life in the future. It also connected me with a lot of peo- ple in the kite community. Matties: What's the power source? Dylan Nguyen: There is a turbine with a propel- ler mounted on to the line of a 27-square-foot airform kite that I built. An electrical wire run- ning along the flying line connects the turbine to a motorcycle battery on the ground through a charge controller, which regulates the flow of power to protect the battery health. I can con- nect it to my phone, and if I use an inverter, I can put it into lights and appliances. Each com- ponent, including the kite, can be upgraded independently without having to replace the entire system, which can be accomplished by following simple instructions. Matties: Why didn't you go with a solar option? Dylan Nguyen: Torn sail? Patch it up. Broken propeller or parts? Make new ones. With such simplicity, repair costs are quite small. If you have a broken solar panel, that's kind of a done deal; you can't replace it without having to buy another one. It can be costly to replace many of them. Matties: You did this with the idea of porta- ble power, so are you thinking of any ways to improve it? Dylan Nguyen: I plan to replace the PVC frame with a carbon fiber rod and 3D-printed picavet as well as parts to retain strength and weather durability while decreasing weight drastically. Holes can be made on the picavet to attach other equipment should the need arise. I've also been thinking about using a motor to reel the kite in and out autonomously to solve the relaunching issue, and a wind speed sensor to detect when to do it effectively. Matties: A solar panel would plug directly into a device. You don't need to charge the battery. Is yours something where I could take the elec- Dylan Nguyen with his airborne wind-generation invention.

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