This article was published on August 17, 2016

Disney just filed a patent for real lightsabers (sorta)

Disney just filed a patent for real lightsabers (sorta)
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

In the coming years, Disney is planning 14-acre tracts in both California and Florida to house its new Star Wars area. If that’s enough to get you stoked to visit a Disney theme park, wait ’til you find out about the lightsabers.

According to a patent application, Disney Enterprises filed for something called an “Audience Interaction Projection System” that enables fans to deflect laser beams in real time using a rather complex thingamajig that resembles a lightsaber. According to the application:

An entertainment environment has a user with a faux light saber that interacts with a drone flying through the air or operated with hidden rods to appear as if its flying through the air. The faux light saber has LEDs attached thereto to provide IR light to the drone. As an LED is turned on, an invisible light sensor built into the drone captures an image of the field of view with a bright spot at the position of the activated LED. A visible light source built into the drone then projects light through particulate matter toward the faux light saber. As a result, the uses is provided with the illusion that the faux light saber has deflected a laser beam. Multiple LEDs can be activated in sequence at various times to give user the impression that the movement by the users of the faux light saber is deflecting multiple laser beams.

Put simply, drones will send light through some sort of matter (like fog) to increase the visibility of the lasers. Park attendees can then use their trusty lightsabers to send it right back, just like in the movie. The LED-powered lightsabers also feature haptic feedback to give attendees real time feedback for each laser beam they deflect back at the drone.


Taking it a step further, Disney seems to have plans for a vest providing the same sort of feedback when the wearer misses a deflection and instead takes a laser strike to the gut.

The patent doesn’t detail any sort of way to engage in epic lightsaber duels; but hey, baby steps.

As with all patents, this one could be a pipe dream that never actually sees the real world. It could also be some sort of blueprint for an at-home toy, although the inclusion of drones shooting lasers makes that seem less likely. The patent itself was filed eight months before the announcement of the new Star Wars area of the theme park, so it could be unrelated — but, we doubt it.

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