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NOVEMBER 2019 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 63 tricity, and through a regulator, put it right into my device and not need to worry about the battery so that it's on-demand power rather than stored power? Dylan Nguyen: Solar panels need a battery to store electricity. For my system, I use a charge controller that has USB ports, which I can plug things in directly. Matties: And then I don't have to worry about carrying a battery. Dylan Nguyen: I like to carry it around because it also provides a reserve and keeps the power consistent. Matties: If I'm a kite flyer or somebody who's hiking and I want this as a backup option, I don't necessarily have to carry the battery then. Is that what you're saying? Dylan Nguyen: Sure, although solar power would not be available at night. And I've also talked to people about different kinds of batter- ies that I could use, which is one of the things that I want to develop into my design. This is a prototype right now, and I'm consid- ering different paths to take it, such as hiking and other outdoor recreation. I'd make the whole system, scale it down, and focus it only on powering small lights and a phone, which would either eliminate the battery or make it a small battery like a portable charger. Or I could scale it up and make more of them, so they would be able to power large appli- ances, such as refrigera- tors, which would take a lot of power; that would also mean increasing the num- ber of turbines I have, the kite size, and the battery size to hold more power. Matties: The kite is an interesting approach. If you're going to the extent of a refrigerator, why wouldn't you just put it on a pole and create a generator that you don't have to worry about flying? Dylan Nguyen: The thing about a pole is that with ground wind, you're not getting the best kind of wind you could possibly have. By using a kite, it's easier to harvest more consis- tent wind in the higher altitude, and it leaves little carbon footprint too. Matties: Not a lot of other 14-year-old students are thinking about this sort of thing. You're a kite flyer, so is that part of the reason that you integrated kites into your strategy? Dylan Nguyen: Yes, it was. Expert kite maker (and manufacturing technician with Intel), Rod Thrall, took Dylan under his wing to teach him how to construct the lifting foil kite for his project.

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