How To: Light Up Your Walls with Stars

Everybody loves the stars. Well, I certainly do. As a child I'd spend hours outside during summer nights marveling at the seemingly endless amount of sparkling dots spanning the sky. Maybe you have children of your own and want to create a sparkle in their eyes, or in your own. This tutorial will provide a basic method of bringing the stars inside—at least, in part.

News: Playing an Electric Guitar With 100,000V

Video: . I made this Tesla Coil using the myRIO and LabVIEW. It uses electricity to play the music, which can be Star Wars, Harry Potter or even Hunger Games! The music is played by the spark heating the surrounding air (causing it to expand) then the spark turning off (causing the air to cool and contract). This expanding and contracting cause's longitudinal waves - or sound waves.

How To: The Hardware Hacker's Introduction to Microcontrollers, Part One: Anatomy of an Arduino

In this article, I'll be explaining the basics of how microcontrollers work, physically and virtually. First off, microcontrollers are no simple thing, so don't be discouraged if you find it mind-boggling! The world of microcontrollers is fascinating, engaging, and an awesome hobby; it never gets boring. I'll be focusing more on I/O and analog based microcontrollers, such as those running Arduino, and using Atmel chips as examples (these are most commonly available, and easy to program).

How To: Make a High-Powered Compressed Air Rocket Gun

In this article, I'll show you how to make a high-powered, long-range, air-powered rocket gun. This launcher is based on a sprinkler valve, a modified propane tank, and a few other components. Though not hard to make, this device is VERY dangerous! The rocket can seriously harm, if not kill any living thing it's shot at. Here's a video of it in action, quite an accurate shot by my friend Chris... Parts

News: DIY Snowflake Cultivation with 2,000 Volts of Thermoelectric Cooling

Snowflakes aren't much to look at during a storm, but when you look real close, you can see just how marvelous they really are. But winter is over and most of us can no longer enjoy the intricate nature of ice crystallization, unless you're sticking your head in your freezer. Or unless you build your own snowflake cultivation machine, which shoots 2,000 volts of electricity through a cold, moist chamber.

How To: Use Google Voice to Prank Your Friends on April Fool's Day

In this article, I'll show you how to prank your friends on April Fool's Day with the very popular Google Voice, a computer to land/mobile calling feature. Basically, Google allows you to play whatever you like through the microphone port on your computer, and play it right through to your victim's phone. Whether it's Rick Astley ("Never Gonna Give You Up") or a text-to-speech application, general hilarity always follows.

Dueling Plasma: Singing Tesla Coils' Shocking Battle to the Death

Tesla coils are electrically satisfying in so many ways. But what happens when a guitar-playing city coil has a run-in with a backwoods, banjo-playing, inbred coil? A musical duel to the death! Watch these two Tesla coils battle it out as they play Dueling Banjos. Shocking. Just shocking. Okay, so it's no secret that Tesla coils can create a wonderful light show of electricity, but by modulating the frequency, they quickly turn into powerful singing Tesla coils—the key to any electromaniac's ...

News: Laser Blasts 2 Megajoule Beam 1,000 Times Stronger Than All U.S. Power Plants Combined

You might already know a little bit about what the National Ignition Facility has been up to lately, or what they could possibly achieve. But last week, even the scientists at the Livermore, California station couldn't predict the awesome power that their humongous laser was capable of. NIF's laser is already the record holder for the world's largest laser, and now it can also claim to be the first ever 2 megajoule ultraviolet laser after it generated nearly 100 times more energy than any oth...

Make Your Own Nitrous Oxide: Hilarious Science

If you've ever had teeth removed/minor surgery, you most likely received some laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. This gas creates a happy, lightened feeling, and causes instant laughter. In this article, I'll show you how to make some. BUT BE CAREFUL!!! DO NOT proceed in this experiment unless you have EXTENSIVE knowledge of chemistry!!! Misuse of this procedure could result in the production of LETHAL GASSES! However, the set-up is quite simple, if done correctly should not lead to any issues. ...

News: Fiber Laser Scores Aperture Logo in Steel While Playing Portal's "Still Alive" Theme Song

Most of your who visit Fear of Lightning are probably well familiar with laser weaponry, thanks to Christopher's three-part series covering carbon dioxide, flashlamp, and semiconductor lasers. Another type of laser currently being developed as a weapon is the fiber laser, which is compact and efficient, but much weaker than a chemical laser. Fiber lasers are more commonly used in laser cutting and marking, telecommunications, spectroscopy, and of course... music.

News: Flying Quadrotor Robots Play the James Bond Theme on Real Instruments

Created by the University of Pennsylvania, these bots would impress Q himself. This army of mini quad-copters are controlled with rhythmic precision, a truly awe-inspiring collaboration of music and technology. From playing a synthesizer to drums and cymbals, each robots is multi-talented. The tiny helicopters are equipped with reflectors, making it possible to plot their position using infrared lights and cameras positioned around the room. Check out the video!

Master the Power: How to Make Fluorescent Tubes Glow with Your Bare Hands

I'm sure most everyone has some kind of fluorescent light source in their home; those long white tubes that emit a bright white light when turned on, or maybe a few of the CFL power-saver bulbs. These bulbs actually require very little "power" (i.e. a high voltage:almost no current ratio) to emit light. In fact, static electricity is enough to make them flicker. Inside these tubes is a gas, and when electricity flows through that gas, it gets "excited" and produces light.

Master the Power: How to Shock People with Your Fingertips

In this article, I'll be showing you how to make a simple yet effective static electricity generator. Basically, this device allows you to carry a constant static charge on your body and discharge it on anything grounded or of opposite polarity. The electricity generated is around 8-10 kV, at a very low current. The shock is enough to startle your friends, just like a static shock from a trampoline or carpeted room. You'll need a little experience in soldering and circuit design to build the ...

How To: High Voltage Happiness? How to Make a Negative Ion Generator

In this article, I'll show you how to build a simplistic circuit to generate negative ions. Negative ions have been known to contribute to fresher air, happier mood, and general health benefits. However, they also look amazing in the dark (check out the photos below, purple plasma is amazing!). And if all else fails, they make a cool nightlight. If you've ever been around a Tesla coil, cathode ray tube TV or sometimes even on a trampoline, you've probably noticed that smell; the smell of "sta...

How To: Build a Wireless Energy Transfer Array to Power Light Bulbs Without Plugging Them In

In this article, I'll show you how to built a Wireless Transfer of Energy Transmitter. Simply put, this device will send electricity to a florescent light bulb and light it up, from up to three feet. The idea originally (at least, prominently) came from Nikola Tesla (read more about this amazing inventor here), who used his Tesla coils to transfer wireless energy to light bulbs in demonstrations (photo below). However, the circuit described in this article consists of a flyback transformer, n...

How To: Protect Your Door with High Voltage

In this article, I'll show you how to create a simple yet effective way of scaring off intruders. Of course, there are methods around this approach, but it's great for office pranks and general fun. The project requires a little background knowledge in electronics and circuitry, like reading schematics and using a soldering iron.

How To: Make a Simple Touch-Triggered Transistor Relay

In this article, I'll show you how to make a simple touch-triggered switch. This is very useful for various electronic projects, from a simple bedside light to a flat panel touch keyboard. The circuit can vary in switching power depending on the transistors you use. For example, if you're looking into creating a 120V light that turns on when touched, you'd need two powerful transistors and an isolation relay. However, a simple flashlight that turns on when touched would only take a couple of ...

Making Electromagnetic Weapons: The Theory Behind EMP Generators

This is the third part of my electromagnetic pulse series (see Part One and Part Two). By now, I've covered the hardware and general concept of electromagnetic pulse generators, but how exactly do they disable electronics? How can an invisible field of energy have such a catastrophic effect on computers, cell phones, and most any other electronics? I'll be answering all these questions in part three of Making Electromagnetic Weapons.

How To: Electron Spirographs with a Cathode Ray Tube

In this article, I'll be showing you how to make a cool visual representation of sound using an old cathode ray tube (CRT) television, a stereo, and a sound source. You'll also need a pair of wire cutters, and a few screwdrivers. To properly understand this project, it's a good idea to learn a little bit about how CRT TVs work. Check out this article on how they work.

How to Make a Jacob's Ladder: Chained Lightning

In this article, I'll show you how to create a simple yet accurate demonstration of the "rising ionized gas" principle. In other words, a transformer, two metal prongs and lots of evil laughter. Remember those large "towers" in the background of Frankenstein movies with a "lightning bolt" rising upwards every few seconds? That's called a Jacob's Ladder; one of the coolest awe-inspiring demonstrations of high voltage. Here's a video of the final product: Materials and Tools

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