In my neck of the woods, fireworks shows have gotten worse and worse with every passing Fourth of July. Last year’s show lasted about 10 minutes and, sadly enough, had less pyro than my birthday cake. If you are faced with with a similar situation this year, no worries — the following gadgets will create a spectacle that won’t disappoint.
I have to admit, it would be something to watch a trombone rendition of the national anthem played with a choir of Frankenhorns. That’s because this instrument has been modified with plumbing, torch and compressed air parts to generate a 21-foot fiery blast of sound with a concussion wave of 150 feet. Spectators would be slouched in their beach chairs like that old Maxell commercial trying to fight the sound and fury — only many of them would be completely ablaze. YouTube via Nerd Approved
Indoor fireworks projector
I love going out and watching a Fourth of July fireworks show. The problem is that I rarely have a good view and budget constraints in recent years have seriously affected the quality in my area. This year I expect the grand finale to be little more than a guy standing in the street lighting up one of those firework snakes. That having been said, you might as well stay indoors and use Sega’s Fireworks Projector. Basically, it’s like a small planetarium, only it projects a firework display on the walls and ceiling complete with sound effects. $207 – Firebox
We all know that entertaining stuff happens when you add a Mentos candy to diet soda. Chances are you’ve seen those PSAs about the danger of fireworks blowing off kids’ hands and whatnot, but you should keep in mind that Mentos rockets aren’t completely safe either. Check out the video above to see what I mean. It’s like a cameraman-seeking missile. Break via That’s Nerdalicious
Tesla coil music
The only thing more interesting than watching a choir of Frankenhorns might be catching a performance from Arc Attack. These guys use massive Tesla coils as musical instruments. Imagine a half million volts dancing around the stage in 12-foot arcs, all synced to play musical notes. For example, in this video the Tesla coils play the theme song to “Doctor Who” while audience members stand petrified (with increasingly frizzy and unmanageable hair) in the midst of this chaos protected by an electricity-blocking Faraday cage. YouTube via Nerd Approved
This guy is a one-man Fourth of July spectacular thanks to these ridiculously dangerous homemade flame gloves. He’s got you covered with fireworks, but he’s also great to have over during your Fourth of July barbecue (especially if you have trouble lighting up your charcoal grill) — and he makes the best s’mores ever. YouTube via Fashionably Geek
I’m sure the illegal fireworks you bought off the back of a truck from a guy with one eye and three fingers are perfectly safe, but this year you might not want to take chances. Grab a can of Glow Graffiti instead. UV light emitted from the can excites luminescent material in special photo-sensitive sheets to create dazzling glow-in-the-dark art. After an hour, the lines completely fade from the sheet and you can start something new. $49.99 – ThinkGeek
Dancing light show fountain
This fountain dances to the beat of your favorite music complete with color-changing lights! All you need to do is hook up an MP3 player to the base station. All right, so maybe that’s not better than an actual fireworks show — but at least you’re in a pool. Meanwhile, I’ll be sweating in a beach chair getting bitten by mosquitoes while I watch a fireworks show that’s almost completely obscured by trees. $69.98 – Solutions
Imagine if you were watching the most amazing fireworks show, only it was happening entirely inside your head. These Trip Glasses can supposedly help you relax, meditate and maybe even hallucinate without drugs. Just put on the glasses and the headphones, close your eyes and open up your mind. Unfortunately, I’ve actually tried these glasses and found the combination of buzzing in the earphones and the bright flashing lights not so much relaxing as it is seizure-y. But maybe you would have more luck. $39.99 – ThinkGeek
While I was buying fireworks that looked suspiciously like grenades from our one-eyed entrepreneur, he tried to sell me a homemade mini crossbow that he claimed could fire pointed darts, blunt-tipped darts and flaming firework darts with a high degree of accuracy. I said no thank you — just wrap up what I have. Oh wait, throw in one of these Roman-candle-looking dealies with the alarm clock strapped to it and I’ll be on my way before the police arrive. YouTube via Nerd Approved
15,000-shot firework cannon
And now for our grand finale, a 15,000-shot firework salute. This homemade rig features 500 fireworks with 30 shots each — come to think of it, it has a lot more in common with anti-aircraft guns or jet engines than it does with your standard fireworks show. YouTube via CubicleBot
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