Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Breathing Fiber Optic Light

... Van de Graff directed light.
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Take a 1" bundle of fiber optic cables [about 1000 strands] and hang them upside down, from a fixture. They are each about 1-2' long, depending on your taste. Light them from the fixture [the light points downward].

Use some version of a Van de Graff generator to charge the entire apparatus to a high voltage - each fiber optic cable repels from the rest and the entire fixture fans outward, creating a downward facing hemisphere. Use an RC discharge circuit, and it falls back to it's bundled state. Oscillate these two effects slowly, and the fiber optics will pulse back and forth at a slow rate providing a calming but dynamic lighting display.

xercyn, Jun 24 2003

Illustration http://www.bea.st/s.../pages/P8270119.htm
Semi-charged state, to give the general idea [currently testing this]. [xercyn, Oct 06 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

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       The tradition would be for a bolt of electricity to leap out onto their heads.
bungston, Jun 24 2003
  

       Fibers need a conductive surface for fast enough discharge. - The tradition could be that it drops small bits of highly charged packing foam on people in the vicinity. Those are hard to remove and make you look real messy. ;-)
kbecker, Jun 24 2003
  

       Blame it on the Van de Graff...
thumbwax, Jun 26 2003
  

       I like this. It's like something Charles Eames would have thought of if he were still around.
feedmewithyourkids, Jul 07 2003
  
      
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