Paul of Chicago, IL, wrote in with his very cool EL Jacob’s Ladder.
I knew I was going to be a Mad Scientist for Halloween this year and I wanted a cool prop for my laboratory (aka garage work bench). As an electrical engineer, I was always fascinated by the electric “Jacob’s Ladder” displays (or, more accurately, high voltage traveling arc). It really is the definitive mad scientist accessory, even though it really serves no (mad) scientific purpose other than demonstrating how high voltage can ionize air and jump large gaps. However, the rapidly rising white hot plasma and its buzzing and crackling sound cannot be beat.
However, there was an obvious reluctance to actually use high voltage. So he made a simulated Jacob’s Ladder with EL wire, a SparkFun EL Sequencer, an Arduino & Wave Shield along with a Lego enclosure.