A Tesla Powered by Insects

Adrian Hanft
2 min readMay 19, 2018

An exhausted beetle crawled across the palm of a young child’s hand. The boy rotated his arm as the bug walked, creating an endless treadmill for his little friend. Around and around the June bug went until eventually it flew away. As he watched it leave, the boy made a calculation. How many million bugs were there? If you could harness the energy of enough bugs you could power the world.

Inspired, the boy started building a prototype. He collected all the beetles he could find and began gluing them to the propellors of a windmill. As the bugs tried to escape, the spindle turned. Success! With his theory validated, he showed his work to anyone who would listen.

His friends only saw a toy. They were entertained by the misfortune of the bugs but couldn’t understand the fanaticism of their odd friend.

Grownups saw torture. What kind of kid kills so many insects for amusement? And why isn’t he playing with the other children?

His mother was in awe of the invention. She praised his ingenuity, gently questioned the ethics of his bug-killing device, and told him that his mind was capable of changing the world. Nikola Tesla grew up to be the greatest inventor in history.

As creators, we can’t wait to show people our masterpieces. We expect it to be received with open arms, for people to recognize the genius of our ideas. It rarely goes that way.

Our piers might acknowledge our effort but don’t fully support our odd fanaticism. Instead of praise we get, “You must have too much free time on your hands.”

The people in charge shoot holes in our balloons, grounding our vessels before they can take flight. Instead of support we get, “Cute idea, kid, but that’s not on the roadmap.”

But it only takes one trusted voice to keep our visions alive, a mentor who praises our ingenuity, gently questions our ethics, and believes in our unlimited potential. Are you hearing that voice? I hope you take my encouragement to heart, because I believe that your mind is capable of changing the world.

Thanks for reading. I write every Saturday so if this if the first time you have read my words, consider following me. Stay creative.



Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia