A few weeks ago when we went to the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY we saw a video playing near one of the exhibits that showed one of these machines where each thing that occurs or moves triggers a reaction that causes the next movement, and so on (there is a name for these things, but I can't remember it -- someone please remind me. [Update: Thank you Wolf! It is called a Rube Goldberg machine, and some examples can be seen here]). The setup shown on the video has a lot of fuses and things that catch fire, which reminded my wife of Chanukah. This prompted the question of whether one would be yotzei hadlakas ner Chanukah if one constructed an elaborate device like this. In other words, would you be yotzei hadlakah through a gerama, or do you need an actual ma'aseh hadlakah?
I didn't have a good answer at the time (and still don't), but at least I now have a mareh makom: the question is raised in the Halichos Shlomo (which collects R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's piskei halacha) and footnotes a discussion by R' Tzvi Pesach Frank in a journal. Something to think about while watching the candles.