Selfcoordinated, Weightless, Autonomous, Robotic MASS (Massive Autonomous Super Swarm)
Project idea: A swarm of mini-copters, flying through the room in an autonomous and self-coordinated fashion. Show-casing some hacker ideals like:
Alternative: rebuild the eye of an insect? Many small cameras with a low resolution? Like an insect measure distance by difference in the frames over time.
Photosensor + lenses: http://www.livescience.com/29213-camera-works-like-bug-eye.html
Power over Laser:
a) Build a box / tunnel where they could fly through which would probably be the safest way.
b) Tracking Lasers
Lasers aiming at the copters. As a safety measure, lasers shouldn't have such a high energy but should come from multiple angles instead. They could either aim in static directions or be made moveable.
b.1) Lasers from the ceiling
Use multiple cameras and/or other sensors with a high FPS and recognize when objects are going to get between them (via 3D object modelling and/or motion detection).
b.2) Lasers from the walls upwards
Lasers mounted to the wall at a height of about ~2.3m
Mixture of a)+b):
Build a box with poly (Plexiglas), mount it to the ceiling but keep the bottom side open. Use a fog machine to fill it with fog. Build coloured lasers into the box. Start shooting lasers at a copter from all directions once it enters the box from the bottom. Play some laser or charging sounds over speakers, let the copter do some charging flashing. Watch the amazing colour play :).
Optimum laser wave length for solar panels, according to http://www.solarschulen.net/global/download/%7BOLKFMKJULV-1118200894727-TCFNYWJAOX%7D.pdf: 1132nm (IR)
Looks like IR or UV lasers are especially dangerous, so maybe stick to the DVD lasers even though they are less efficient?