Disney Invents a Working Lightsaber

Posted by:

April 13, 2021

Star Wars fans (and possibly non-Star Wars fans) rejoice as Disney unveils a working lightsaber at an April 8, 2021 presentation.

Well, what exactly does a "working" lightsaber really mean? Does it cut through metal doors and walls? No, but it does have an illuminated blade that extends and retracts with the simple push of a button.

So, how does it work? The details of the lightsaber are described in U.S. Patent No. 10,065,127 titled "Sword Device with Retractable, Internally Illuminated Blade," but essentially it has a string of flexible LEDs mounted onto a motorized spool inside a frame. Two outer spools of a translucent material (think of two translucent tape measures) lie flat when fully wound, but curve when extended. The two translucent spools surround the flexible LEDs forming a single beam of light when the lightsaber is extended.

Below are some figures from Disney's lightsaber patent.

You can also find more information (including animations on how the lightsaber works) here.