Engineers from the student-run organization X-Labs at the University of South Florida (USF) recently finished building a 10-foot tall dual-resonant solid-state Tesla coil. The electrical transformer circuit is capable of producing alternating-current electricity, and for our entertainment, shoots sparks between 10 and 15 feet to the tune of the Super Mario Bros. theme song.

According to the USF’s student paper The Oracle, the group worked on the Tesla coil for two years. They met on a weekly basis in one of the engineering buildings to create a model with the ability to tune electric sparks that come off the dome to form various pitches and melodies.

Here is the result:

X-Labs aimed to finish the project in time for the USF Engineering Expo. The event is taking place on February 22 and 23, meaning they have achieved their goal.

“I wanted to have science demos to show kids at the Expo,” X-Labs founder Joe Register told The Oracle. “Our goal is to have a Blue Man Group-like show.”

The group’s larger mission is as follows:

We are a hands-on education group with the twofold purpose of inspiring students and providing university engineering students with hands on experience. The concept was recently born from a dedicated and diverse group of engineering students at USF who wanted to not only showcase the University’s technical ability, but wanted to show the world that research begins with a creative spirit. We are doing this through large and ambitious projects.

In addition to Tesla coils, their website says they launch high-altitude balloons to the edge of space. Yet we like the former projects more. Here’s another video from last year:

X-Labs president Coyt Barringer said getting touched by a small Tesla coil is similar to receiving a shock from a taser. We don’t want to know what it’s like getting a shock from one of these larger Tesla coils.

Image credit: lcs9