Feeds

Engineers seek funds for world’s largest Tesla coil

Ten stories of electromagnetic goodness

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A team of engineers is seeking $348,000 in funding on Kickstarter to build the world’s largest Tesla coils, capable of spitting artificial lightning for hundreds of feet.

The Lightning Foundry, the brainchild of high voltage engineer Greg Leyh, will stand ten stories high (the original plan was 20 per cent higher) and will be capable of shooting arcs of electricity around 200 to 250 feet. Besides being really cool to look at, Leyh and his team do have a serious scientific point to the project – working out how lightning gets so efficient at transmitting electricity.

The Mythbuster team tesla coil

Mythbusters use a salt water cannon to direct the power

“Lightning uses around a tenth of the power per foot of energy to send electricity through the air compared to man-made examples,” he explained to The Register. “Lightning initiation is still something that baffles experts.”

Already the prototypes for Lightning Foundry have revealed some interesting real-world applications for the project. The team has been able to beam power to a stripped down electric car using the system, and the research is showing some interesting ways power can be used via the air.

Lightning Foundry roadster

Electric car is pushing it, but wireless power works

If the team’s funding goals are realized the machine will be built in San Francisco and then transported to Nevada, for set up close to the Hoover Dam. This isn’t because of the huge power needs of the coil (the team will be spinning their own power using local turbines,) but to provide space for testing and running the system.

There are, however, safety considerations to take into account. While the team is expecting 200-foot arcs of power, it is possible that the artificial lightning could show the same efficiency as its natural counterpart if the arcs get long enough – which would increase the overall arc fallout zone by a factor of five, imperiling spectators.

While the experiment does have a scientific purpose, Leyh acknowledged that it would also be a hell of a spectacle and he anticipates the device drawing in crowds eager to see electricity in action.

“Hopefully, this is a scientific experiment that people would go and see,” he said. “I would love it if this inspires people to consider their universe and the wonders it contains.” ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.