Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Plasma Clock

Observe the true currents of time.
  [vote for,

Three circularly flattened, concentric layered plasma globes, each with a different gas inside, creating three different colored spark machines, layered on top of each other; each about a centimeter deep, the front 18" diameter [deep blue], middle 16" [green], and rear 14" [red]. Clear insulating layers between each to protect against interactions.

Moving electrodes hidden along the perimeter of each, cause the sparks to be linearly directed [with lots of electric sparking noise, of course, which is the whole point], much as a plasma globe does when you stick your finger on it; The rear rotates with the hour, the middle with the minute, and of course, the front with the seconds. Observing the directions of the three moving plasma sparks gives you the overall time.

xercyn, Jun 21 2003

(??) Plasma Globe Video http://www-astro.ph...edu/~rnw/movie3.mpg
This was before we could tell time with them. [Amos Kito, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Plasma Panel http://cheapnovelty.com/luminglas.html
Already flattened. [half, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Oh, I thought you meant... http://www.mediplus...om/transfusion2.htm
[DrCurry, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

A dodgy animation http://bz.pair.com/fun/plasclock.mpg
[200Kb MPEG1 file] Very dark. You'll have to squint. [bristolz, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Nice. +
FarmerJohn, Jun 21 2003

       I'd buy one!
shazam, Jun 21 2003

       By varying the size or conductivity of the 3 electrodes, you may be able to do this with just one globe. Weak sparks for hours, medium for minutes, bright sparks for seconds.
But three globes are cool, too. +
Amos Kito, Jun 21 2003

       Definitely worth baking. Track down the companies who supply Spencers with their gadgets and throw a proposal at them, with a royalty, of course.
RayfordSteele, Jun 21 2003

       If Farmer John says it's a nice clock, then you have something there. If I think it's nice, you get a bun from me. +
sartep, Jun 21 2003

       Regarding the baking... I always thought that bringing up an idea with someone like Spencers' suppliers was pretty much like throwing it into the wind, that there'd be no reason for them to involve you as soon as they were given the idea... anyone have any info about this kind of thing?   

       Thanks for the feedback so far! [I actually have plans to make this, so the more the merrier....], [amos] I'll keep that in mind definitely, my first tests will be to try to flatten the globe anyhow, so we'll see what is reliable....
xercyn, Jun 22 2003

       Talk to [blaise], he's pretty familiar with patents. I'm sure there are probably others here with knowledge on the subject.
RayfordSteele, Jun 22 2003

       Large Croissant. I am sure we can all see this in our heads.
gnomethang, Jun 22 2003

       They do have the flat plasma eye catchers. They involve many glass beads between two plates of glass.
sartep, Jun 22 2003

What sartep said. (link)

       I have seen the "crackle glass" (neon lighting terminology) type. The ones in the link are clear.
half, Jun 22 2003

       Oooooh. (+)   

       Let me know when it hits Sharper Image.
FloridaManatee, Jun 23 2003

       [rayford] any idea how to get in touch? blaise has no available contact info that i could find-   

       [sartep/half] Sure they're clear? the luminglas stuff that I've seen is all that glassy-looking stuff. That's cool.. maybe their company would be a good group to get in touch with directly, if they already have that technology readily available [ i think it's patended].   

       I guess the big thing I can't figure yet, is how to fully insulate one plate from the next- it works via capacitive coupling through the glass [typically], so if anyone has ideas to make the flat plates not interact, that would be great. Gotta go start experimenting...
xercyn, Jun 25 2003

       It doesn't have to be clear. The plasma streams can break apart and be in three places at once. For the fastest moving hand place it closer to the center, the minute hand attractor somewhere in the middle and the hour hand on the outter edge. That would be if you wanted the smoothest movement for all of the hands. It would be the opposite from the way a normal clock operates, but if anyone wanted a normal clock we wouldn't be having this conversation. Personally, don't see why it has to be a flat plasma face. It would be just as neat to see this as a sphere.
sartep, Jun 25 2003

       He seems to drop by on occasion, but I haven't seem him lately.
RayfordSteele, Jun 25 2003

       [sartep]= agreed. This was just the first way I had envisioned it.. however, the sphere idea works as well- actually, it could be interesting to have the three electrodes on the three perpendicular axes of the sphere, since we're leaving the normal clock domain as it is...   

       [drcurry]: whoa.
xercyn, Jun 25 2003

       If it is ok with you, this idea has inspired me with a similar idea. May I post it if I can link to your idea?
sartep, Jun 25 2003

       [sartep] - by all means! isn't that what this place is all about?   

       [bristolz] - i'm honored- pretty much exactly as i envisioned it - my first remote illustration work. real cool. now that you know how to make it maybe you can show me some time...
xercyn, Jun 26 2003

       Do you mean having something like 20-30 electrodes with plasma globes to light them up? Solid. even more difficult!
xercyn, Jun 26 2003

       [degroof] It seems like the only way to really accomplish this is by tapping the power supply.. i.e. I don't think the back and forth polarities would actually prevent misdirectional fires, even with pulsing. I think, however, that if all electrodes were brought to half the max. potential, and the display was set that only the full range of voltage would be enough to ionize the path, then having most of the electrodes set halfway would prohibit any paths from themselves, so to speak.   

       Actually now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure most of this is wrong [but I'll keep it here in case people have ideas about it]. First of all [and this part I think is fine] the necessary voltage to do something like this would be -much- lower, as the high voltage is needed to capacitively couple to the outside air, instead of just bridge a gap. But more importantly, one can't switch polarities, because all those electrodes are pulsing at very high frequency AC, not being held at a DC voltage- that's the only reason it works in the first place! [because only AC can cause the capacitive coupling effect held over time] I think to do a digital display would require significant differences than an ordinary plasma globe.
xercyn, Jun 29 2003

       Isn't 'high frequency' pulsed DC really 'high frequency' AC with a DC offset? I thought it was just the AC component that let the plasma globe find it's way to ground through capacitive coupling. Still trying to figure it all out though, speaking of which, anyone know where I can get a two foot diameter hollow glass sphere? [seriously!]
xercyn, Jun 30 2003

       'Bout the only thing I can think of is a fishbowl, and I doubt it would work.
RayfordSteele, Jul 01 2003

       I think that you could have such spheres blown/made for you and probably not too terribly expensive.
bristolz, Jul 01 2003

       Fish w/ plasma storm displays. the possibilities are endless.
RayfordSteele, Jul 01 2003

       [degroof] nice link, only $30. not bad.   

       [RS] Don't you mean -dead- fish with plasma storm displays?
xercyn, Jul 01 2003

       [+] wallclock: one very oblate spheroid, front hemisphere clear, rear hemisphere painted black: 3 concentric rings, each of 60 electrodes on the back and a digital timer/switch to select which contacts get closed, when.
FlyingToaster, Sep 09 2009


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