Or rather, a really elaborate toy lightsaber.
Everyone loves lightsabers. Like, I’m not even that into Star Wars, and even I love lightsabers. It’s the finesse of an old school katana mixed with the impossible science of a galaxy far, far away. Everything from their handles to the sounds they make are absolutely iconic, and for ages, people have been trying to figure how to make their own, either literally or in the form of very elaborate toys. There are some fancy collectables that feature a long, unwieldy bulb, but the fact that it can’t actually retract kind of spoils the magic. Luckily, magic is exactly what Disney deals in.
Disney has filed an official US patent for its very own lightsaber design, presumably to implemented somehow at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge park at Disney World. Obviously, it’s not a real lightsaber; you can’t cut through a steel door or vaporize people with it (though I’m not convinced Disney isn’t working on one of those as well). Rather, it’s a new kind of lightsaber toy that features an extending, fully-illuminating blade. This isn’t like those crummy toy lightsabers with the telescopic blades, either; the whole thing pops out with the press of a single button.
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.
This animation shows the concept behind the tech. pic.twitter.com/e7fwP06CxF
— Ben Ridout (@benridout) April 12, 2021
The patent itself is a little hard for a layman to parse, but VR engineer Ben Ridout made a series of Twitter posts to illustrate the mechanics behind the design. It’s kind of like a tape measure that works in reverse, featuring two spring loaded, circular sheets that pop up out of the hilt. These sheets are mounted on a string of flexible LEDs that cause the blade to light up. It isn’t known precisely how durable the blade material will be, nor if it’ll have any motion sensing tech like other collectible sabers, but even if this is all there is to it, it’s still a safe bet that people will want them whenever Disney deigns to release them, assuming they’re not exclusively for use as props.