Entrepreneur makes fire dance to the beat

A Bay Area fire artist has created a $15,000 fire pit designed to make flames react to the beat of music. Las Vegas hot spots are lining up to buy it.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read

A new $15,000 device from Live Spark makes fire dance to the beat of music. Live Spark

Updated at 12:03 p.m.: To correct that Arc Attack did not synchronize music to its tesla coils.

Just in time for Maker Faire, I read in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning that a local fire artist has created a revolutionary machine: a fire pit, from a company called Live Spark, designed to make flames dance to the beat of music.

According to the Chronicle, Brett Levine--not surprisingly, a Burning Man and Maker Faire artist, as well as a former software entrepreneur--has begun selling his so-called "Fire 2.0," a $15,000 device that has gotten Las Vegas hotels and clubs hot and bothered over the prospect of entertaining their guests with synchronized dancing fire.

"Think of the illuminated bars on your stereo's graphic equalizer. Now imagine them on fire (links to video)," the Chronicle reports. "Algorithms analyze music in the room, even specific instruments, and send signals to the gas lines that rapidly open and close a series of valves to 100 different positions up to 30 times per second."

Now, I've seen some pretty amazing fire art in my day, but I'm guessing for your average Vegas visitor, this would be something they've never encountered before. And that's why, the Chronicle reports, Vegas hot spots are lining up to talk to Levine and his business partner about getting Live Spark hooked up.

This, of course, reminds me of some other artists that time visual art to the beat of music: Arc Attack, an Austin, Texas, group that uses the electricity from a pair of tesla coils to produce music.

Still, fire definitely has a primal attraction for a lot of people, and I can certainly see why Las Vegas would want to bring some of the magic that good fire art generates to its visitors. Now, as the economy continues to falter, Vegas' elders just need to figure out how to get those visitors to actually, you know, visit.

On June 22, Geek Gestalt will kick off Road Trip 2009. After driving more than 12,000 miles in the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the Southeast over the last three years, I'll be looking for the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and South and North Dakota. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. And in the meantime, join the Road Trip 2009 Facebook page and follow my Twitter feed.