Name: Olivia Koski
Lives: Brooklyn, New York
What are you showcasing at World Maker Faire this year?
The Fire Organ, a musical instrument that turns music into flames.
How did you come up with the idea?
Guerilla Science, the collective of artists, scientists and engineers I’m apart of, has been bringing a device called a “Rubens’ tube” to festivals for several years now. The technology was invented by a physicist named Heinrich Rubens in 1905 and is used by physics teachers all over the world to help students visualize sound waves with fire. One of the mathematicians I work with, Mark Rosin, thought it would be fun to create a “Fire Organ” by setting up five of these flame tubes in a row. So we built the fire organ and it’s just about the coolest musical instrument I’ve ever seen.
Did anything surprising happen while you were developing it?
It heats up quite a bit and the first time we turned it on we accidentally melted a speaker.
What are you working on next?
We’re looking for musicians to collaborate with who want to compose music for the fire organ. It has its own personality, and when you play a song on it you have to think about not only the sound but also the shapes that the sound waves make with fire.
Is there anyone at World Maker Faire you’re excited to meet?
I’m a big fan of robots, so I hope to meet a lot of robots.
What invention do you think would change the world?
The laser, invented in 1960, is one of the most revolutionary inventions in my opinion. But then again I’m biased because I’m a laser engineer.
Meet Maker Olivia Koski at World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science Sept. 26 & 27.