Feeds

Engineers seek funds for world’s largest Tesla coil

Ten stories of electromagnetic goodness

Top three mobile application threats

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.” ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery
SpaceX reports Falcon booster made controlled touchdown in ocean
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.