If you're a fan of superhero films, Japanese anime or fighting games, you've probably wondered what it'd actually be like to throw fireballs in real life. Wonder no more, as a Californian inventor and YouTuber has crafted punch-activated flamethrowers you can strap to your wrists for some stunning "firebending" martial arts.
Partly inspired by the pyrokinetic abilities seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Allen Pan set about creating a pair of arm-mounted flamethrowers that can spew fire in time with the wearer's arm motions.
The results can be seen in the video embedded below from Pan's YouTube channel, Sufficiently Advanced. Pan's latest creation joins other pop culture-inspired experiments, such as a working Lightsaber from Star Wars, Spider-Man web-shooters and a home automation system that responds to ocarina songs from Nintendo's Legend of Zelda.
Pan explains how the 'fists of fire' actually work on his Hackster page, including a step-by-step guide showing how to craft your own. This should be fairly obvious, but following in Pan's footsteps is done so at your own risk.
The actual flamethrower part of the project appears to be fairly simple and involves combining a butane fuel chamber, a value and a "modified" arc lighter. The punch-activation, however, gets a little more complicated.
"The punch-activated part of this project is an Arduino Pro Mini and an accelerometer," Pan explains. "A fist performing a punch has a fairly unique acceleration profile that looks like a significant positive acceleration (the beginning of the punch), followed by an extreme deceleration (the end of the punch) within a small window of time (<100ms)."
"That means our Arduino can distinguish punches from normal everyday gesticulations pretty easily!"
"Once everything is mounted to an arm, we have a flamethrower that can be actuated by an Arduino only when the arm has thrown a punch. And before you can say "sparky sparky boom man" you've become a firebender!"