BB Video: Omega Recoil, Mad Electro-Makers Who Craft Giant Tesla coils


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Boing Boing Video today peeks inside the electrified world of Omega Recoil, a group of engineers and “makers” who craft giant Tesla Coils, and stage humorous and thrilling performances with those large electrical devices.

What’s a Tesla Coil? From the Tesla Society website:

[It] is one of Nikola Tesla’s most famous inventions — essentially a high-frequency air-core transformer. It takes the output from a 120vAC to several kilovolt transformer & driver circuit and steps it up to an extremely high voltage. Voltages can get to be well above 1,000,000 volts and are discharged in the form of electrical arcs. Tesla himself got arcs up to 100,000,000 volts (…) [They] are unique in the fact that they create extremely powerful electrical fields. Large coils have been known to wirelessly light up florescent lights up to 50 feet away, and because of the fact that it is an electric field that goes directly into the light and doesn’t use the electrodes, even burned-out florescent lights will glow.

For viewers in San Francisco — Omega Recoil members will be giving a talk at the 7th anniversary Dorkbot event, which features other cool “maker mutants” we’ve featured on Boing Boing Video before, like Jon Sarriugarte and the Boiler Bar folks. Organizer Karen Marcelo says,

…and to think this all started because i was bored seven years ago and
decided to call Douglas and start the SF one in Marc Powell‘s garage!
Pesco was a speaker at the first one! We had Brian Normanly talk
about how to ‘liberate’ electricity from PG&E. I dont think anyone
has the guts to do that now! :) Here’s that first event from 2002.

More on Jon Sarriugarte’s blog.


Sponsor shout-out: This week’s Boing Boing Video episodes are brought to you in part by WEPC.com, in partnership with Intel and Asus. WePC.com is a site where users come together to “share ideas, images and inspiration about the ideal PC.” Participants’ designs, feature ideas and community feedback will be evaluated by ASUS and “will influence the blueprint for an actual notebook PC built by ASUS with Intel inside.”

About Xeni Jardin

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.
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2 Responses to BB Video: Omega Recoil, Mad Electro-Makers Who Craft Giant Tesla coils

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bill Beaty regularly visits BB, you know.

  2. 68flh says:

    It’s really sad that this is considered “good” photojournalism these days. Between the jerky handheld camera and the choppy MTV-style editing, you can’t really see much of Omega Recoil’s interesting work.
    You seem more interested in saying “Hey, look at me! I got me a video camera and I’m jiggling it around!” than in actually communicating any useful information about the topic.
    Death to MTV-style “infotainment”!!!!

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