A head-mounted Tesla coil – what could possibly go wrong?


We can hear the commercial now…

“Reeeeeeal men of geniuuuuuuus! Here’s to you Mr. no-fear, singing Tesla coil on your hat wearing guy…”

Call him a genius or call him crazy – all we know is that [Tyler’s] Tesla coil hat is awesome! Even though it’s the middle of November, we couldn’t pass up this Halloween costume.

[Tyler’s] creation essentially boiled down to taking a standard dual resonant solid state Tesla coil and shrinking it down to a reasonable size for mounting on his skull. The mini Tesla features a pretty compact boost core which worked reasonably well, at least for a little while. He says that the boost never truly worked properly and needs a redesign, which is something he’ll tackle when he gets some free time.

Boost issues or not, we think that the video below speaks for itself. The hat is certainly an attention getter, and we think it’s great – even if wearing a Tesla coil on your head is not necessarily the safest thing to do.

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A Tesla coil that delivers shocking candy


Even though Halloween was a week ago, we are still seeing plenty of cool stuff coming our way. Take for instance this Tesla coil that [JJ] sent us.

He got the idea to build a coil for his Halloween display about a week before the event, but he figured it would be easy enough to do since he had a lot of the parts on hand already. He originally started with some neon transformers and a primary/secondary pair he used in a previous Tesla coil build, but when things were fully assembled he wasn’t completely happy with the results.

He returned to the drawing board, winding a new primary/secondary coil pair, which performed much better. The rest of the coil was pieced together with random parts he procured at IKEA along with other items he had sitting around.

He donned a mad scientist’s outfit, and with a large set of grounded tongs acting as a Faraday cage he proceeded to electrocute trick or treaters’ candy with his Tesla coil, much to the delight of the neighborhood children.

Be sure to swing by his page to see more construction details, and for a sneak peek at the candy zapping process, check out the video below.

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Tesla coil bullet-time photography


One thing we can all probably agree on is that Tesla coils are one part high-voltage electricity and two parts pure awesome. [Rob Flickenger] thinks so too, and he built a pretty nice one in his workshop some time ago. He took a bunch of pictures showing off the coil’s capabilities, but he thought that one photo taken from a single angle didn’t do much to relay just how fantastic it is to watch a Tesla coil in action.

Taking a cue from the Matrix movies, he bought a stack of Canon point and shoot cameras and constructed a bullet time rig in his workshop. In order to get the pictures just right, he flashed each camera with a customized version of the CHDK firmware that allowed him to trigger all ten shutters with a single button press. A few scripts help facilitate collecting all of the images for processing, after which he identifies the good shots and stitches them together. You can see the awesome results in the video below.

[via LaughingSquid]

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The Evil Genius Simulator: Kinect Controlled Tesla Coils

The London Hackspace crew was having a tough time getting their Kinect demos running at Makefair 2011. While at the pub they had the idea of combining forces with Brightarcs Tesla coils and produced The Evil Genius Simulator!

After getting the go ahead from Brightarcs and the input specs of the coils they came up with an application in Openframeworks which uses skeletal tracking data to determine hand position. The hand position is scaled between two manually set calibration bars (seen in the video, below). The scaled positions then speeds or slows down a 50Hz WAV file to produce the 50-200Hz sin wave required by each coil. It only took an hour but the results are brilliant, video after the jump.

There are all these previously featured stories on the Kinect and  we’ve seen Tesla coils that respond to music, coils that  make music, and even MIDI controlled coils, nice to see it all combined.

Thanks to [Matt Lloyd] for the tip!

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Vacuum tube tesla coil

[xellers] may have been in 8th grade when he built this vacuum tube tesla coil, but he did a fantastic job. Unlike most of the tesla coils we have shown, this one doesn’t use a high current transformer from a neon sign. Instead, he’s gone the direction of vacuum tubes. He spent a total of about $125 which isn’t too bad. Most of us could reduce that cost by scrounging from our parts bin.

Solid state tesla coil


While researching solid state Tesla coils we stumbled across this old project. As you have probably guessed from the pictures, this coil is meant to actually play music. Knowing how to add eye catching flare, the coiler uses a Plexiglas frame turned light pipe; only to be complimented by an audio amplifier complete with graphic equalizer. There is a video of the coil in action on YouTube. We have covered singing tesla coils in the past. Other twists on the classics include the tesla coil guitar amp and a hand held plasm gun.

Tesla coil guitar amp

You’ve probably seen musical Tesla coils already. People have wired them up to computers and keyboards to make them serve as dangerous and awesome speakers. This video popped up of someone playing his guitar through one. It is rough, and not very good at polyphony, but still cool. We would like to see several coils, split by different filters to be able to hear more of the guitar chords. If only someone had rigged these up for Queen when Flash Gordan was made.