Tesla Coil Concert

The rooms here at the Hilton in Troy, Michigan are on the inside of a large arc. They all have small balconies that look down onto a nice bit of lawn with a gazebo at its center. During the day, yesterday, they had some industrial size grills set up and were searing mass quantities of Brazilian beef for con goers to enjoy.

As I was writing my last post, some daring geeks were setting up a pair of giant tesla coils in anticipation of sunset. You may have seen the video of this digitally driven coils performing the Mario Brothers video game theme music. Once the sun had set, we were treated to one of a handful of live performances by these very clever folks.

Let me tell you, the videos simply do not do this insanely cool hack justice. Not by a long stretch. The music was loud and clear though we were perhaps a couple of hundred feet away and up on the third floor. Seeing the arcs pulsate in a hard to describe synchronization with the tones they were generating was awe inspiring. The higher the frequency of the note, too, the longer the arcs. They had several rods on different heights stood up specifically to give the longer arcs places to ground. Hearing the two coils also play in harmony on some of the pieces was also surprisingly beautiful.

They played a repertoire of mostly video game themes and some recognizable movie and TV themes. I was especially delighted to hear the opening notes of Ghostbusters followed by a pretty faithful and recognizable rendition of a decent portion of the song. The medley of course include the Mario theme, two of them actually. I was happy, for once, to have my little camera instead of my DSLR since it has video capability.

My sons are bonkers for Mario, we’ve been playing a lot of Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy. They have several of the older games on their DS and SP. They instantly recognize the music and I cannot wait to show them this, the layering of giant arcs of electricity on top of one of their current favorite bits of media will be a hilarity inducing double treat.

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