Hey it’s me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day. There’s only few times in your life when you look at something and you’re like: ‘You know, this can’t be a thing,’ But it is a thing! This video is just like that. We’re going to look at an invention today by Nikola Tesla, but the thing is, it looks just like a video game, but I assure you this video is real. Before we check that out I want to go look at a couple of contributions he made to society as soon as he emigrated to the U.S. in the 1880s. If you’ve ever done a patent search on Nikola Tesla you’ll be amazed. It’s all there! Pumps, guidance, power distribution, fluid propulsion, wireless energy, and a super important one: motors. Tesla created a multi-phase AC generator system that first proved it could work at the Ames Hydroelectric Power Plant in Colorado. This led to Tesla teaming up with George Westinghouse and creating the first large-scale AC power plant at Niagara Falls, which was a huge deal. If you haven’t seen, it this really cool statue of Tesla overlooks the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. My favorite part of the statue tells how it came up with the idea of AC power. He said he was walking in a park in Budapest with a friend when suddenly the idea of rotating magnetic fields came to him like lightning so, he drew it in the dust. Speaking of lightning, Tesla carried out incredible experiments with high voltage arcs in Colorado Springs. One such experiment involved making this circuit. There’s a power supply which charges a capacitor and when the capacitor fills up in arcs across a spark gap, which dumps that energy into a primary coil. A secondary coil is tuned to the same frequency for resonance, and then boosts that voltage, and there you have it. Lightning. There’s a company called One Tesla that makes do-it-yourself Tesla coils that you can buy and assemble all by yourself as long as you know how to solder. My buddy Philip works at a nuclear plant, so since we’re dealing with high-voltage, I got him to come over and help me out. These things are super cool and a great place to start if you want to build your own coil. Instead of using a spark gap like Tesla did, this thing uses a really fancy inhibitor circuit that lets you do really cool stuff. You can load MIDI files onto an onboard SD card and it will play whatever song you want. I wanted to hear it play O Fortuna (buzzing in the tune of ‘O Fortuna’) Whoa! (astonished noise) Obviously, the next step was to try to impress the kids. (buzzing to the tune of ‘Super Mario Bros. – Main Theme’) (laughter) (tune continues) That is so cool (tune continues) (laughter) after this we started trying to methodically probe the limits of the system to see what it was really capable of, but I got a little too confident, and in my excitement I started to do things with the manual tells you not to do. Looking back at it this is kind of funny, because you can see the exact second when i go from pure geek joy, to instant regret. (rapid, high pitched buzzing) Are you seein’ this? Oh it broke! I broke it and I feel bad about that, because I knew what I was doing, I over drove it I probably broke the rectifier or the igbt and I’m sad. It’s a DIY coil, though. We can fix it quickly, but instead of working on it why don’t we go visit a guy in my hometown, who has a website dedicated to Tesla coils. I found him today, have never met the dude, about to go be best friends with this guy. he’s got a little bit larger coil. Let’s go get Smarter Every Day. This is Cameron Prince. He runs the number one Tesla resource website on the Internet called teslauniverse.com. He provides tesla coil performances, and he also happens to live directly across the street from my aunt and uncle. This is a little bit bigger than mine. “How big is this thing?” Prince: “Oh it stands about nine foot-tall.” Destin: “Nine foot-tall? “Did you build it?” Prince: “I did. It’s as big as I could make it and fit in the garage.” “Really.” “Yeah.” “So that was the design requirement?” “Yeah that was the design limitation there.” Destin: “Is that a capacitor bank down there?” Prince: “Yeah, that’s a big capacitor bank.” “Dude! That’s not a joke!” Prince: “Those came out of an MRI machine.” “Really. Is that the most expensive part of the whole device?” Uhm probably.” “And do the cats walk around when you’re doing it?” Destin: “That would- It would bake a cat, man!” Destin, narrating: Cameron is the real deal. When I was a kid I collected baseball cards and rode my bike. Not Cameron. His life changed forever the first time he saw a picture of Nikola Tesla.” Cameron: “when I saw those pictures of him in colorado springs, in his experiments, sittin’ in front of his coil, that lightning going around him and then I was hooked. You know most people were… when they were kids, were throwing baseballs and stuff. I had a box of light bulbs and wires and batteries” Destin: “That’s awesome. I like it when people are excited about things. This makes it so much more fun.” okay here we go (indistinct speech, snapping switches) (loud buzzing, rising in intensity) Destin: “Holy Cow!” (buzzing continues) ‘Ok, I got it! I got it!” (buzzing falls off, Destin laughs) “That is ridiculous! (still laughing) Alright. Alright. That’s unnerving! Time out. There are some experiences you cannot convey via internet video, and this is one of those. We’re talking 20-foot lightning bolts hitting the ground constantly in front of you. This was unreal. My heart has never gone from zero to a hundred in this short amount of time. It was… whatever. I can’t explain it, I’m not gonna try.” “I can’t explain that!” After I calmed down a bit, Cameron asked me if I wanted to see a real-life Tesla gun, which I didn’t even know was a thing! He built this thing from a kit designed by his two friends Steve Ward and Phillip Slowinski. Only a few of these things exist in the world, and I apologize for the laughing here, but I was really, really excited. It doesn’t look real; it feels like you’re in some kind of video game. “How do you control the power output?” “The display right here.” “Dude! This is full-on Ghostbusters stuff” “Oh yeah. Totally.” “Where do I need to stand?” “Uh, anywhere. I need help with a breaker, that pin there, pull up.” (pin clicks) Destin: “Holy Moly! Okay.” “Alright.” (Destin laughs) Destin: “Where do I need to stand?” “Anywhere.” “Oh, dude.” (Tesla coil buzzes) “Wow.” (continued buzzing) Cameron: “That’s super low,” (buzzing stops) “but I can bring the intensity up.” Destin: “You know that that feeling when” somebody has a loaded gun around you, only the gun could point anywhere. So I’m going to step back here. (laughs) (deeper buzzing) “Wow. So what’s it arcing to? Why is it not coming back to ground? So, that’s the primary coil. No you do not have air-cooling on that!” Cameron: “It’s water cooled.” “It’s water cooled?!” Destin: “You know what’s unreal to me? I wanted to study Tesla coils, and I started googling, and you live where I live.” “Yeah.” “That’s unreal.” “It is.” (Destin laughs) “Oh dude. “One more time please.” (buzzing and maniacal laughter) ok ok, Let’s get ready to do the high-speed. let’s do high speed.” (narrating) “After capturing several videos with the Phantom, I decided I didn’t like the lighting. The problem was it was too dark to see the gun, but I needed the darkness to be able to see the arc. Cameron agreed to bring the gun over my house the following day at sundown, so that I could use the sunlight to illuminate the gun, and I used a black backdrop so I could record the lightning bolt coming out of it at 28,000 frames per second. (buzzing) Destin: “Got it. Got it!” (whooshing background noise) (crackling noise echoing) (sudden buzzing) (crackling continues) (noises fade) (sudden buzzing) (echoed crackling) (buzzing and continued crackling) Ok. After watching this slow-mo, and seeing that arc curve back towards Cameron, the obvious next question to ask is: what happens if you get hit?” “He’s just casually cleaning his Tesla coil.” (buzzing) “WHAT?!” “It’s hittin’ your hand!” (Cameron chuckles) Destin: “What? Can that go through your heart?” “I mean yeah, but it’s so low current.” The primary coil on a Tesla coil circuit? Fatal, no questions asked. But on the secondary coil the output is in microamps, which is generally accepted to be safe, but some people still say it’s dangerous. Here’s the deal. DO NOT do this. A lot of people say this is safe a lot of people say it’s dangerous, I just really wanted to touch it. “Ok, ready, ready to trigger the high-speed?” “Ok, Oh God, I’m good, I’m good. it just scared me Okay, go ahead. Okay. Wow, okay. All right. Yeah, it’s thing.” (guitar music and crackling buzzing) “So after I took that hit, Cameron asked me if I wanted to shoot it myself. I don’t know if that was a rite of passage or what, but, um, yes, I would like to throw lightning bolts from my fingertips!” “You turnin’ my breaker on? Oh! good grief! This Is like a video game!” Destin: “I can’t thank you enough for lettin’ me do this. I mean, this is like… the little boy in me is just…” “Wow!” “Okay. I need to give you your gun back”. I had so much fun making this video I mean I just wanted to learn about Tesla coils and, all this happened; I’m very excited about this video. Anyway if you enjoyed this video, and you want to support Smarter Every Day then support the people that support Smarter Every Day! there’s Audrey from 1 Tesla; I’ll leave a link in the video description. there’s Cameron at Tesla Universe; leave his link down there, and then the sponsor is Audible.com. Audible has audio books that you can get download for free if you go to audible.com/smarter. I do this every day. I listen to audiobooks on my way back and forth to work. Special treat today, Mark Cipher is a guy that I talked to through Cameron; he’s a Tesla historian. He wrote the definitive book on Tesla’s life. It’s called Wizard, the Life and Times of Nikola Tesla. When I told him I was going to talk about his book in this video, he got so excited he filmed a little clip for me. Hello, my name is Mark Cipher, and I’m the author of Wizard: the Life and Times of Nikola Tesla. When I first learned about Tesla, he was a very obscure figure, but now his name has resurfaced, and he has become kind of pop science icon. Find Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla at audible.com/smarter. I’m really excited about that. Thank you very much, Mark. And if you want to support Mark Cipher, go get Wizard at audible.com/smarter. that will support Mark and support Smarter Every Day. You should be listening to audiobooks anyway; it makes you smarter. Anyway I’m Destin. I really hope you enjoyed this half as much as I did. I hope this video earned your subscription; If not, no big deal. I’m Destin, you’re gettin smarter every day. Have a good one.