By Caitlin Jennings, Communications Specialist, Society for Science & the Public
Matthew True Haynes had an idea about how to generate electricity through a gentle wave motion, not just violent waves. “I wanted to design [and] build a scaled model of a prototype of a generator that could be used to create electricity from motion waves.”
With the help of Society Fellow Sydney Bergman and his mentor Robert Badhe, True built his project and competed in the Washington, DC Science and Engineering Fair, which Intel also sponsors. “It uses the up and down motion of the waves and it captures that with a buoy.” True says that by linking the buoy to the generator, it turns that energy into electricity, both when the waves rise, and as they fall.
Sydney says that, without the Society Fellowship, which provides resources with generous funding from Intel, the school would not have been able to help True purchase the materials for his project. “He ended up needing a lot of stuff…over the course of months, so I really appreciated the Society’s flexibility with that,” she says. True made several trips to Home Depot to get new supplies throughout the year, and wasn’t necessarily sure at the start of his project what specific supplies he would need, Sydney says, “Because he was essentially creating something that hadn’t been made before, there was a lot tweaking and adjusting as things go.”
Sydney’s other students also took home first and second place awards, along with several special awards. True also won a number of special awards and was surprised when he won the grand award. “I really did not think I was going to win,” he says. “It was one of the craziest experiences of my life.” After the Fair ended and he had some time to process what winning meant and what it will be like going to Intel ISEF in Los Angeles, he has only gotten more excited, he says, “It’s going to be amazing.”