Disney Made Some Real-Life Star Wars Lightsabers

By | April 14, 2021

Star Wars lightsabers are now a thing of reality, not cinematic fantasy.

This news was shared during a virtual presentation for Disney’s parks and attractions, and now, thanks to a Twitter thread from Star Wars super-fan Ben Ridout, we know more about the mechanics behind bringing a Jedi’s prized possession to life.

Aided by a handy animation, Ridout wrote: “Did Disney invent a real working lightsaber? Yes they did.

“It won’t melt through metal blast doors, or cut off your hand, but it does feature an illuminated blade that will extend and retract at the push of a button.”

“It’s based on a familiar concept—the Tape Measure,” he continued. “A steel tape measure is somewhat sturdy when extended short distances. The curve in the steel provides strength and the mostly flat tape can still be wound up on a reel inside the body of the tape measure. That’s important.

“Disney’s lightsaber design extends (get it?) the basic tape measure design. Imagine connecting two tape measures together so each tape faces in on each other when they are extended. Connect the ends of the tapes with a circular cap.”

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Ridout’s breakdown continued: “Next, widen the tapes and increase the curve, allowing them to partially wrap around each other and form a complete cylinder.

“Drive this system with a motor so both reels can be extended and retracted in synch at the push of a button. Now, you’ve got a lightsaber!”

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Ridout goes on to explain more about materials set out in the patent and how they inform the way in which the lightsaber will work—for example, how the “semi-transparent flexible plastic” used for the blade section will diffuse the LED lights throughout, as well as how the motor system built inside the hilt will operate.

A thing of beauty, it is.

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