Better With You @ NYU Skirball / by Ernie Gerardo

In the very specific world of family-friendly science-themed entertainment, you can't too much better than Doktor Kaboom. The guy stages larger-than-life versions of science experiments that entertain just as much as they educate, like a version of Bill Nye mixed with the Mythbusters' tendency to build things just to see how big an explosion they can make if they tweaked the parameters of an experiment to their logical extremes.

And he somehow does this in a manner that the kids just love.

The theme of this tour was "Live Wire," where he'd do some cool experiments with electricity, including Tesla coils and Van de Graff generators. I had the opportunity to "open" for him when he came to New York with an hour-long pre-show activity in the lobby of NYU's Skirball Center.

Unlike the BRIC event last month, this was less about conducting surveys (no time) and more about making sure this version of the build could withstand an onslaught of 100+ kids. And it did, actually by taking a step back design-wise.

These plates were rewired while I watched Rick and Morty for like three hours.

If you look at this picture, you'll notice that I took out the delicate PVC stands and opted for a version that was super-reinforced with Gorilla tape, yet with enough surface area that a kid could pick it up and make it work.

I also experimented with thicker solid-core wire to prevent unwanted contacts from touching, as well as help with durability.

Someone call Mike O'Malley, because I'm spilling my GUTS.

Finally, I gave this thing a logo! Or at least a graphic I can use for demos!

If you arrange these symbols in a hexagram with the ground symbol in the center and then sacrifice an 808, you can summon Skrillex.

Here's what that fun yet chaotic hour looked like in pictures.

If you'd prefer, here it is in video form.

So that's it for March 5th. Stay tuned, Better With You will have more demos in the future. Hopefully in a way that lights. up.

Be good.

- Ernie