Yes, very true indeed! Of course, you and I know that these students are not making any money on this, especially if they have liability insurance, which i'm pretty sure they don't. No underwriter in the world would offer insurance for a kit like this.
Anyways, regardless, i do commend them for their work and it is a very good learning lesson for them.
Of course, Eastern Voltage Research put up a very good answer to their crowdsourcing effort by doing their own crowdsourcing funded Tesla Coil. Looks pretty sweet, but looks like they aren't making any money on these either based on their prices.
Honestly, this isn't new technology at all. Amateurs have been doing POLYPHONIC music reproduction with Tesla coils for almost 10 years now. Seems like it only really makes news when students at prestigiuos MIT do it that their efforts get rewarded.
Point is, that this is nothing new. And if you really want to look at the history of this particular design, it was copied directly from another one board DRSSTC kit that another company, Eastern Voltage Research, has been selling for quite a number of years before OneTesla popped on the scene. In the original write-up, the designer even states, "Inspired by Eastern Voltage Research's microBrute, I decided to route a DRSSTC onto a 4"x6" board. "
Yep- have seen giant teslas singing at the Oakland 'pre-burning man' festival put on by the Crucible at their Fire Arts festival. Was very impressive. Not as impressive as the propane powered flame blaster however...
The videos are interesting and the music is impressive considering the way it is being converted to sound.
It reminds me of an article tha was in Popular Electronics (I belive) about 40 years ago. Someone put carbon electrodes in the flame of an oxycetalene welding torch and connected them to the outpot of an audio amplifier (possibly with DC bias voltage added) to use the flame as a transducer. I badly wanted to duplicate the experiment, but alas was a poor teenager without a power amplifier, let alone a welding torch, so can't comment on the quality of the sound produced