Yoga Flame! Interview with the Creator of the Prometheus Device

Fire, for years man have struggled with its fascination and stupidity over the dangerous element.  Numerous videos can be found on Youtube of some stupid guy who filled a Super Soaker with gasoline and used it to make a half-ass flamethrower. Luckily there are a few poeple that are far more smarter than that.  Everett Bradford has made internet fame over the Youtube video demonstration of his arm-mounted flamethrower, the Prometheus Device.  We got a chance to talk with the man that made something straight out of the X-Men comic books and asked him how he came up with the idea?

“I thought of it so long ago that I can’t really remember when I initially came up with it.  Obliviously it was inspired by Pyro from X-Men at some point but I may have come up with it out of nowhere and just said hey it’s just like Pyro. So actually I’m not even sure.[laughs]  The idea just came up as a really cool costume prop or just a really cool effect.”

Nerd Reactor: So have you actually taken the Prometheus Device out with you on Halloween?

Everett Bradford: Yeah I did last Halloween.

What is the response you get from people on the street? Do they walk up to you and are like “Woah“, or do they just run away screaming? [laughs]

Well it goes both ways, I went to a party with it last Halloween and I threw together a quick costume to look a little bit like Pyro with the yellow hair and the red and yellow clothes and it was a mix reception at the party. The people whose house it was were really not happy about there being fire inside [laughs].  Some other people, people I didn’t even know, came up to me and were like, “Hey, your Everett Bradford, you did that thing on the internet.”

Do you ever get requests from fans like, “Hey, can you do a Hadouken or a Kamahamaha?”

Yeah I got a lot of those on Youtube but not in person [laughs].

How long did the whole process of trying to create the Prometheus Device take, because it is now in its third design?

I started the first one in April of 2008 and that one was pretty quick and it was really simple.  I had decided it would be a full project to actually motivate myself to get it done because I had been toying with the idea for a while at that point, and it only took a week or two. Then I didn’t do anything with it for a while.  Version 2 I did a lot of work on it over the summer of 2008.  Version 3 I did a lot sketches and testes out some ideas, building up little pieces of it, just to see how things worked over about 6 months.  After that I pretty much had the idea solidified and spent about 2 months just building and going all out every time I got the chance to get down to my workbench.

You went to school for engineering, what were some of the reactions from some of your fellow students when you showed them what you had created?

It got quite a reaction when I presented it for the class I did it for.  I wore it on and I put up the original Youtube video where I was talking about the mechanisms because it was a mechanisms course.  So I showed the video and then I stopped the video and everyone was kind of like “oh my god that’s what that thing is that he’s been wearing.” [laughs]  Then I just fired it up and then the professor said “Okay okay that is enough.” [laughs]

Then I turned it down and sat down but it did get a pretty good reaction.

What did your parents think of it when you told them you created a flamethrower?

I may have told them when it went up on Hack-A-Day, but my dad always emails me because he will just come across it on some corner of the internet every once in a while.

So I was talking to one of my friends and it’s really hazy and I’m not sure if it is true but apparently flamethrowers are not illegal?

I have no idea but I don’t think technically the Prometheus Device is a flamethrower.

Well at least you haven’t gotten arrested yet. [laughs]

Well yeah I make sure to be careful not to do anything that is really significantly endangering anybody.  But I did make the deliberate decision to use liquid fuel because that’s where you get into really extremely dangerous situations.  I don’t know where any law would define a flamethrower but I think that is a basic element of it, because to be a weapon, it would really need to be a liquid fuel that it could project.

So I’ve noticed some videos of other people showing their own Prometheus Device on Youtube, have you seen these videos?  There is this one video where the kid in it looked 12, does that at all make you nervous?

Those copies that I have seen don’t really make me all that nervous because the fuel source that they’re using is the same I used in version 2, which is the little butane refill canisters, and those are fairly safe.  Those are really no more dangerous to somebody hurting themselves then if they had a campfire and pulled a stick out that was on fire.  The real danger would be them setting something else on fire with it, it’s really no different if they had a barbecue lighter. To be honest, the butane flame is relatively on the cold side and when using these canisters the gas comes out as a boiling liquid but it’s actually freezing cold.  I mean I’ve burn my hand but it was very minor and it really doesn’t do any permanent damage at all.  I think the worst these guys will do is singe their eyebrows off.

Have you at all been contacted by any companies or investors interested in the Prometheus Device?

Actually, I’ve been contacted by countless people on Youtube saying “Hey that’s awesome. I’ll pay you any amount of money for that.”  I usually say okay and add up all my hours, cost of parts and this is what it will be, and they usually say well that’s way too much.

You know the worst case scenario of that is someday your watching the news and you see a news report saying, “Man robs bank with arm-mounted flamethrower.” [laughs]

[Laughs] Yeah, but I’ve also been contacted by some companies that were interested in it and I explained it to them that, as far as I could tell, there’s really no marketing opportunity for it because it’s so inherently dangerous and there is really no legitimate use for it other than visual effects for a costume or something.  But I’ve actually recently been talking to some people who wanted to use it for a film prop and then some other people wanted to use it for live performances.

So what is next for the Prometheus Device? Are you done with it or do you plan to updgrade it even more?

Well I’m done with that particular model but I think it was a big step in the right direction. What I was really going for over version 2 was to improve the controls. The problem with version 2 was that it was just impossible to get it to do exactly what you wanted. It was very finicky with the gas flow and I tried to make it as automated as possible.  I haven’t really done anything with it since last October but I have been putting together ideas from what I have learned from building the last model. So I think I’ll probably eventually put together something else, especially if one of these contracts pan out, and if somebody wants to buy it for a film prop or for performance use, I’ll definitely put some more work into it and build another version.

So obviously you’re a fan of comic books right?

[laughs] I get a lot of people saying “Oh you must really love the X-Men,” and to be honest, I’m not really a big comic book fan, I just kind of had the idea and said, “Hey, that’s a lot like Pyro from the X-Men,” which I got from the movie.

[laughs] You just shattered some nerd’s dream, but you like comic book movies?

Yeah

So what would you say is your favorite comic book movie?

I’d have to say The Dark Knight.

Well I have to say the Prometheus Device is an amazing invention and I totally wish I had one.

Yeah well the consolation is when you do have have one, you will realize that it just sits in your garage and you’ll never take it out ever [laughs]

Well I just wanted to say thank you for taking your time out to talk to us at Nerd Reactor.

Sure no problem.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2oEP3RWppA[/youtube]

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Mike Villarreal
Mike Villarreal 1363 posts

Mike once killed a man with a plastic butter knife. True story. #ViolentGentlemen