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!


18 thoughts on “The Evil Genius Simulator: Kinect Controlled Tesla Coils

  1. Wosser: You sir are an idiot. The tesla coils are responding separately depending on which arm is raised. Also, the frequency raises as the arms is raised and lowers when the arm is lowered, etc. Please explain how you can do that with a switch you dumbass?

  2. install this in a doorway
    with a sign “do not reach up” if people disobey the sign….

    also, this can be fully emulated with 2 switches(and 2 pots to change freq)

  3. if you want to go down the “emulated” path, keep it simple and have two people standing behind the subject who, on cue, hold up placards with a zig-zag lightning bolt motif on them while a third person turns the room lights on and off quickly.
    Think what you could do with fluro paint and a uv light :o

    I think the real thing is a tad cooler ;)

  4. That’s very cool. Some ideas just resonate with the psyche, even if they’re relatively easy. In some sense, that’s what Maker Faire is about (IMO, of course.)

    Among other things, this probably allows random spectators to control tesla coils in an electrically isolated way that even an insurance adjuster would approve of! (the “world’s most complicated opto-isolator :-)

  5. I was there when they rigged this up, it was definitely a highlight of the Maker Faire. Not only was it something home-made and awesome, but they came up with it and rigged it up *while at the faire*.

    There was also an incredible number of Arduinos and clones on show. Playing “spot the Arduino” was a game in itself!

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