A close encounter with lightning is scary, but a lot of people witnessed “lightning in a box” Saturday at Maker Faire, a showcase of technology, contraptions and odd stuff at State Fair Park.
The two-day event, which continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, allows inventors and artists to swap ideas and show their work to the rest of us. It’s co-hosted by Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and the nonprofit Milwaukee Makerspace, in collaboration with MAKE magazine.
As for lightning, Jeff Whitehouse of Madison simulated it in a box housing a microwave-oven transformer and some switches. The flash of fire produced from 30,000 volts burned a pattern in scrap wood set in the box.
Whitehouse got a different artistic burn pattern from every piece of wood he zapped.
“There is no way to predict lightning’s path twice or even once. We are allowing the electricity to do its own thing,” he said.