Star Wars: How Disney’s ‘Real’ Lightsabers Work


Star Wars: Last Thursday (8), during a routine presentation, in which he revealed the new facilities of the Avengers Campus at Disneyland, Disney Parks President Josh D’Amaro made many Star Wars fans freak out online, when he drew a totally new retractable lightsaber.

As was to be expected, speculation was rampant on the Internet, with various explanations and theories, some pointing to an old 2018 patent, published in Google Patents, which advertised a “sword device with retractable blade illuminated internally”. Or did someone discover the kyber crystals?

The mystery ended on Sunday (11), when augmented reality developer Ben Ridout went on Twitter to reveal, on a thread, how Disney’s invention worked. Using the images from the original patent, he made a didactic presentation, using animated images.

How do Disney “real” lightsabers work?

Before explaining the “magic” behind the new sabers, Ridout clarified that potential aspirants for Jedi will not be at any risk, as the devices will not be able to melt metal doors or cut the hand of disobedient children. Everything is just two blades illuminated by LEDs that extend and retract at the push of a button. And the concept behind the operation is simple measuring tape.

In the art shown on Twitter, Ridout placed two parallel measuring tapes attached to a small cap. They are driven by an engine that causes them to extend or retract. In a third spool, there is a flexible LED strip that lights up when it goes up with the “blades”.

The interest in lightsabers is not random: Disney Parks is creating a new park called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which presents, in one of the immersive adventures, a workshop for manufacturing the famous laser swords used by the Jedi and the Sith.


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