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Tesla : Inventor of the Electrical Age

2343 words (9 pages) Essay in Sciences

08/02/20 Sciences Reference this

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Nikola Tesla’s life was one of ups and downs, even so, he had a tremendous impact on the world as one knows it today. He was a passionate, highly skilled and very driven inventor, who not only created motors but different mechanisms in all sorts of fields including, electricity, medicine, and entertainment. In 1875, Tesla began attending Joanneum Polytechnic School in Graz, where he became such a studious scholar that his teachers thought he was going to die of overwork. From the beginning, Tesla worked hard for everything he had, and his persistence is reflected in all of his patents and designs. The transition of a mechanism from one field to another because of its dual uses is not uncommon. For example, bubble wrap was originally sold as wallpaper. People find other ways to use items which eventually help more people. This can be seen with the invention of the Tesla Coil, which developed from Tesla’s passion and work ethic. It started off as a small generator, in size; however, it produced more electricity than any AC or DC motor at the time. When the Tesla Coil was not as successful as expected, a transition of the Tesla Coil being used for electricity to the medical field showed Tesla that he could experiment in different fields that he hadn’t worked in before and be successful. This led him to fully test his invention in the medical field where the Tesla Coil had helped people tremendously. If Tesla had not convinced people that they could make money from his initial inventions, he would have never attracted the funding to experiment and develop the Tesla Coil, and eventually move beyond failure and transition this technology to highly impact the medical field, aiding in the invention of Electrotherapy and improvement of the X-ray.

 Nikola Tesla inventions evolved as it attracted funding through investors. Nikola Tesla started out his long career of inventing with the development of a motor that alternated the direction of the current, making it more effective than the motor used at the time which used direct current. His original design was then altered by George Westinghouse, and his team of inventors and scientists to make the motor even more effective in producing electricity. Tesla originally leased the patent to Westinghouse, however, after some financial troubles, Tesla sold Westinghouse the patent[1]. The money generated by the patent allowed Tesla to fund his other projects and let him focus on what he wanted to do, invent. Money is important for all great inventions because it is costly to create prototypes over and over again. The money he received from selling his patent was not the only money to go into Tesla’s passion for building and to pay for his lab. The second person who heavily funded Tesla was Adams, “Adams agreed to promote Tesla’s latest inventions, and together they launched the Nikola Tesla Company in February 1895. Adams fancied himself as being eminently capable of helping Tesla”[2]. The Nikola Tesla Company was the first of many tiny steps toward the invention of the Tesla Coil and using it for as many purposes as possible, including in the medical field. With each step towards his own lab, Tesla learned more about motors and different techniques to design and finally build the Tesla Coil.

 With the funding, Tesla was able to experiment way beyond his initial inventions’ uses. While building one of his motors in the Nikola Tesla Company, Tesla changed regular AC waves to electromagnetic waves. When doing this experiment, Tesla fell in love with the science behind it leading him to the invention of the Tesla Coil, “Tesla now had an invention that produced currents whose voltage and frequency were higher than those generated by other machines. Tesla called this invention his oscillating transformer, but as it came to be widely employed by other inventors, it became known as the Tesla Coil.”[3]. The Tesla Coil, being revolutionary for its age held a lot of promise for what was capable for the future. By producing a product with high voltage and frequency, he unknowingly produced a machine that wasn’t limited by one field, electrical. The way it was built and how it was broadly distributed among investors helped make sure there wasn’t a limit on its possibilities which lead it being used in the medical field. Through the invention of the Tesla Coil, Tesla believed that he could conduct electricity through the air with the Tesla Coil which he could, “Electricity can be conducted through the atmosphere and he hoped that methods could be devised to control its distribution from one place to another. He believed that very high voltages in the range 15–20 million volts could be used for this purpose, at a height of 30,000–35,000 feet above sea level”[4]. The wireless electricity which was possible through the Tesla Coil and through the Wardenclyffe Tower would have had endless possibilities and its effects were limitless. However, the tower ran out of funding. Which is why Tesla was so insistent about having enough funding for his projects. The tower showed only a small part of the Tesla Coil’s potential because it only represented the Tesla Coil in one field, electricity and power. In 1903, J.P. Morgan decided to stop financing the Wardenclyffe Tower, “Morgan certainly did not need an elaborate reason for refusing to continue to support Tesla. He had already sunk $150,000 into the project and Tesla had promised in late 1900 to span the Atlantic in six to eight months and the Pacific a year later. Two and a half years had now elapsed”[5]. Because Tesla needed more time to make his dream happen, the possibility of free wireless electricity for most of the world, was unreachable; however, it was far from over from being effective and helping people. The Tesla Coil powered this project, which was his life’s work according to Tesla which discouraged the young inventor at first. The world hearing about the Tesla Coil and the Wardenclyffe Tower excited many people, so when the tower ended up becoming a failure, many people lost faith in him and his abilities. This fueled Tesla to produce more inventions gained back the trust of the public and his investors, which lead to the transition of the Tesla Coil from electricity and power to medicine. The Tesla Coil could have helped thousands of people receive free electricity, but because it ran out of funding and could never be used for its intended purpose; however, its possibilities were endless and Nikola Tesla was a hard worker who never gave up.

 Failure in one field leads Nikola Tesla to tremendous success in another field. The Tesla Coil, after failing to provide immense amounts of wireless electricity, was transitioned into the medical field, which has helped millions of people. The beginning of new medical advances made but the Tesla Coil was made by accident, “ In using his high-frequency generator and oscillating transformer together, Tesla soon learned about the physiological effects of high-frequency currents. Early on in his experiments, he accidentally touched the terminals of an oscillating transformer and the high frequency current passed through his body. Much to his surprise, he was not injured”[6]. Making this discovery, by accident, he was able to open up tons of new possibilities for medical research and improvements in the field. This discovery that he wasn’t electrocuted, or even shocked by the Tesla Coil, lead Tesla to research on the effects of the shocks and what they can do a person’s body. He began testing on himself, which is why the Tesla Coil was accepted into the medical field in the first place. Tesla was able to give positive results and the positive effects of shock therapy, showing that mental and physical illnesses were possible to treat with this type of therapy. This was the beginning of research done on shock therapy. The Tesla Coil transferred from wireless electricity to a useful tool in the medical field because it was a versatile invention that could help people in different fields at once.

Although not a doctor, Tesla’s inventions have had a huge impact on the medical field, for example, Electrotherapy. It can help various mental and physical illnesses, especially with a machine that isn’t harmful when touched in the right conditions. The first example of this is CES ( Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation) devices which shock the brain to enhanced dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and serotonin levels while also treating pain, depression, stress disorders, and insomnia[7]. Shocks to the brain relieve stress and depression like Tesla originally found out through experimenting with the Tesla Coil. People still use variations Tesla’s inventions today because they are so effective, proving his impact on the world not just in one field. Talk therapy can only do so much, while Electrotherapy is now able to help people when they refuse to talk to a therapist. Another study of CES therapy shows the same results as the first, “Significant decreases in Tension-Anxiety and Depression-Dejection scores (p < 0.05) were observed in the Active CES group. Furthermore, Depression-Dejection scores were significantly lower in the Active CES group”[8]. Multiples tests of electrotherapy on different people have now proven that people can be helped with mental illness through variations of electrotherapy, which would have not been possible without Tesla and his invention. Nikola Tesla created electrotherapy by accident through his “failing” machine, and from there it has branched out into a service that can help with physical and mental illnesses.

Even in this new medical field, further discoveries were made by accident and experimentation. Tesla was also able to use his Tesla Coil to produce versions of x-rays and MRIs which were later developed by other engineers to produce what we have today. This was also discovered by accident, because Tesla wanted to research RADAR and radio waves[9]. Radar waves reflect what is around so a person can sense what is around them, in Tesla’s case, using a Tesla Coil to power a machine to sense what is around the machine. This technique can transferred to the way MRI’s sense what is in a person’s body. Tesla’s work regarding radar waves along with the Tesla Coil was then used to make the MRI, which had a major impact on the medical community. Then, Nikola Tesla became intrigued with the brand new discovery of x-rays, which he had discovered before but never published. Tesla also acquired a new x-ray patent, “Patents filed in 1896 show that Tesla concentrated not on developing a system employing ground currents but on improving his oscillator so that it could be used for wireless lighting and powering x-ray tubes”[10]. The Tesla Coil was able to power an x-ray far better than any other source because it was so effective. The Tesla Coil was such an impressive machine that it was able to used in two fields at the exact same time, finally proving his past investors who gave up on him. Tesla was one of the first to work with the x-ray and discover ways to make citing rays vibrate and to see through skin. This X-ray was powered by the Tesla Coil, and he got the x-ray to work because at first the power wasn’t strong enough until the Tesla Coil was used [11]. The Tesla Coil could generate the much-needed power while also being safe for the user, the Tesla Coil was the preferred generator. Tesla had so many inventions that he could use his previous inventions to make more intricate ones, like the Tesla Coil, then transferring to the x-ray. Because of the Tesla Coil could be used for so many different things, it was able to help a variety of people, including powering x-rays and MRI’s.

Bibliography

  • Bean, Mark, and Tom Valone. Understanding Tesla Coils and Beyond : Everything You Need to Know. Beltsville, MD: Integrity Research Institute, 2013.
  • Carlson, W. Bernard. Tesla : Inventor of the Electrical Age. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • Hee-Tae Roh, and Wi-Young So. “Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation Affects Mood State but Not Levels of Peripheral Neurotrophic Factors or Hypothalamic- Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Regulation.” Technology & Health Care 25, no. 3 (May 2017): 403–412. EBSCOhost. 
  • Kak, Subhash. “Tesla, Wireless Energy Transmission and Vivekananda.” Current Science 113, no. 11 (December 10, 2017): 2207-2209. EBSCOhost.
  • Liboff, A.R., and K.A. Jenrow. “Physical Mechanisms in Neuroelectromagnetic Therapies.” NeuroRehabilitation 17, no. 1 (February 2002): 9-20. EBSCOhost.
  • Ristanović, Elizabeta. “Tesla’s Inventions of Importance for Medicine: Reality or New Visions of Science (In Honor of the 160th Anniversary of the Birth of Nikola Tesla).” Vojnosanitetski Pregled: Military Medical & Pharmaceutical Journal of Serbia 73, no. 7 (July 2016): 615–17. EBSCOhost.

[1] Carlson, Tesla : Inventor of the Electrical Age, 115.

[2] Carlson, 205.

[3] Carlson, 124.

[4] Subhash, “Wireless Energy Transmission,” 2208.

[5] Carlson, 347.

[6] Carlson,124.

[7] Liboff & Jenrow, “Physical Mechanisms,” 8.

[8] Roh & So, “Cranial Electrotherapy,” 407.

[9] Bean & Valone, Understanding Tesla Coils, 9.

[10] Carlson, 248.

[11] Ristanović. “Tesla’s Inventions of Importance,” 616.

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