Seen at science museums, maker faires, and all over the internet, Singing Tesla Coils combine science and music in the most fantastical and memorable of ways. But how do they work? From Physics Buzz:
Sound waves are vibrations of the air around us, which you can make just by clapping your hands or talking. Pitch is just the number of times the air vibrates per second. Higher frequency, higher pitch. Tesla coils are a combination of circuits that output thousands to millions of volts. That high electric field arcs up and out of the coil, filling the air with sparks and making it possible to light up fluorescent lights wirelessly. Certain types of Tesla coils, like the one used here, are putting out hundreds of sparks per second, with a rest between each spark. That’s already a lot like a sound wave. Each spark is pushing on the air and can create a sound. Change the frequency of the sparks and you get an equal frequency wave, hitting your ears like a note of music. The creators had to find a way to move seamlessly between frequencies to make the notes sound distinct, instead of just playing the whole scale.
Above, tesla coils “sing” the Inspector Gadget theme by ArcAttack, who were the first to use this technology in a live performance in late 2005. Watch more singing tesla coil videos at Know Your Meme. Related links: the tesla coil and Nikola Tesla, who invented it around 1891.
In the archives: more electricity, more instruments, and things that glow.
With three wheels, pneumatic motors, and driven by a joystick, this ladybug of a car is compelling for both its unusual form and its power source: compressed air. The AIRPod was developed as a sustainable, zero-emission solution for urban commuting, airport vehicles, messenger services, and more. Initially conceived of in 1991 and promised for production since 2000, the car is finally expected to be on sale for around 7,000 euros sometime in 2014. Via Core77:
One tank lasts over 125 miles (200 km) and takes only two minutes to fill up again at an average price of just one euro per fill.
Bonus: the eco-friendly engine technology can be built into boats, backup generators, farm machines, and more.
In the archives, more cars and more sustainability videos, including these two jaw-dropping favorites: an air-powered LEGO car, behind-the-scenes at the Tesla factory and the Moser Lamp.
Updated video link.
This is what 20-year-old Romanian Raul Oaida (above) and Melbourne entrepreneur Steve Sammartino did with more than 500,000 LEGO pieces and four orbital engines: The Super Awesome Micro Project — a full sized LEGO car with an air-powered engine, and 256 pistons that also appear to be made from LEGO. It goes around 20mph and they don’t go much faster than that because they really don’t want to crash it.
More LEGO videos, including this awesome DIY project: build your own LEGO microscope.