Wireless electricity

[Eric Giler] has a talk available over at TED that discusses and demos delivering electricity without wires. Called WiTricity, these methods were developed by a team at MIT a few years ago who were working off of the concepts of Nicolai Tesla. The facts shared about our current energy delivery system are a bit shocking; we’ve spent over $1 trillion in infrastructure and produce more than 40 billion disposable batteries each year.

The demonstration in the video starts about 6:30 into it. At first we see a flat panel television powered wirelessly from about 6 feet away, then the T-Mobile G1 powered from the same distance. The thought of new TVs coming with WiFi and WiTricity standard would mean just hanging it on the wall with no cords to run. We can also image cellphones that have a battery only for backup purposes when you were not near a transmitter.

The power transfer occurs between two coils that resonate at the same frequency and only that frequency. This remind us a bit of Orson Scott Card’s fantasy communications device from the Ender’s Saga.

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.

Jacob’s Ladder


[jandgse812] shows us how to build a Jacob’s Ladder from mostly household parts.   The bulk of the instructions for this project are included in the downloadable document, there is a downloadable video as well. Be sure to follow to the end where he shows us a much safer and possibly better looking revision. The Jacob’s Ladder has become standard fair for any mad scientists laboratory. If you plan on having a workshop suited for world domination, it absolutely must have one of these in it. Be careful though, the high voltage can be deadly.

900,000 volts at your fingertips


[Nickademuss] has put together these great instructions on how to build a 900,000 volt Van De Graaff generator. For those unfamiliar, Van De Graaff generators produce massive amounts of static electricity. They are usually the things you see in science centers that make people’s hair stand on end. [Nickademuss] put a lot of effort into this, he created 3D models and diagrams for many of the steps and gave a very detailed step by step breakdown.

TIME’s Best Inventions of 2008


Attempting to put our past behind us as quickly as possible, TIME has released what they feel are the best inventions of 2008. While there’s some pretty wishy-washy lab-only stuff on the list, we’re glad to see a lot of cool hardware made the cut. Some of our favorites are: The Tesla roadster proving electric cars can be fun. IBM breaking the petaflop barrier with LANL’s Roadrunner. The Large Hadron Collider for getting everyone scared about physics all over again. Have a look at the list for many other tech highlights from this year.

Singing Tesla coils

The video above is ArcAttack! playing the classic “Popcorn” through their signature Tesla coils. Solid state Tesla coils (SSTC) can generate sound using what [Ed Ward] calls pulse repetition frequency (PRF) modulation. The heat generated by the plasma flame causes rapid expansion of the surrounding air and a resulting soundwave. An SSTC can be operated at just about any frequency, so you just need to build a controller to handle it. The task is made more difficult because very few electronics are stable in such an intense EM field. [Ed] constructed a small Faraday cage for his microcontroller and used optical interconnects to deliver the signals to the Tesla coils.

[via Laughing Squid]