Sparks will fly: How to hack your home – A new revolution (2014)

Danielle George

Danielle George attempts to use simple motors to construct the world’s greatest robot orchestra.

Danielle George  standing next to a robot in the Ri Theatre
Credit: Royal Institution

Lecture 3 – A new revolution

Inspired by the Royal Institution’s very own Michael Faraday, Danielle George attempts to use simple motors to construct the world’s greatest robot orchestra.

When Michael Faraday demonstrated the first electric motor in 1822, he could never have dreamed that in 2014 we’d be surrounded by mechanical devices capable of performing nearly every human task

In this lecture, Danielle explains how these robotic and motor-driven appliances work and shows how they can be adapted to help you kick start a technological revolution. She shows you how to turn a washing machine into a wind turbine, how Lego can solve a Rubik’s Cube and how the next Mars rover will traverse an alien world.


A revolution is happening. Across the world people are taking control of the devices we use every day, customising them, creating new things and using the sparks of their imagination to change the world. Now it’s your turn, and you can start with the things you have around you.

Electrical and electronics engineer, Danielle George takes three great British inventions – a light bulb, a telephone and a motor – and shows you how to adapt them and transform them to do extraordinary things. This is tinkering for the 21st century, using the full array of cutting edge devices that we can lay our hands on: 3D printers, new materials, online collaboration and controlling devices through coding.

Inspired by the great inventors and standing on the shoulders of thousands of people playing at their kitchen table or in their shed, Danielle announces the new rules of invention and shows you how to use modern tools, technologies and things from your home to have fun and make a difference to the world around you.

Anything could happen. Sparks will fly.