Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Singing Tesla Coil - the Zeusaphone

I have got to build me one of these:

The sound of the music is actually coming from the electrical arcs. Output from a MIDI device is used to modulate the envelope of the RF signal. This was built by a EE student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and he plans on selling them next year. (See his website here.)

I should note that the units he will be selling will also have inputs for electric guitar. Theoretically, it should also be possible to use the human voice to modulate the signal. Just imagine Ozzy incorporating one of these into his stage show and feeding the opening line of "Ironman" through it....

Technical details of how to modulate the RF signal to produce controlled sounds are available here, at a website maintained by a "coiler" (euphemism for one who tinkers with Tesla coils) in the UK.

UPDATE: Here is a page with links to videos of singing Tesla coils built by the Austin chapter of the Geek Group, plus a video detailing some of the technical details of the control circuit design. Their rendition of Oingo Boingo's theme from Weird Science is particularly nice....