Real Life Lightsabers – How Close Are We?
They are the most iconic and arguably coolest weapons in all of cinema, although that's all they will ever be, right? After all, only through the power of editing or one's imagination can a lightsaber ever come to fruition. And while there are some incredible replica hilts and glowing tubes of LED strips out there, nothing will ever truly compare to the real thing. So, will that ever change? How far away are we from wielding our very own lightsabers? Well, let's find out!
Ever since 1977, fans young and old have fantasised about being a Jedi. I mean, what's not to love about badass robes, the Force, and – of course – lightsabers?! There are only three problems with such a dream: stylish garments don't come cheap, the Force is... well, non-existent, and lightsabers are still puzzling scientists to this very day. But what could be so mind-boggling about a sword made entirely of plasma? You'd be surprised.
First of all, plasma is the lesser-known fourth state of matter behind solid, liquid and gas, and can be contained using magnetic fields. To do so, however, the beam would need an enormous amount of energy to melt steel. Around 20 megawatts, to be exact - which is enough to briefly run 14,000 households. To make matters worse, each blade would simply pass through one another. And I don't know about you, but that wouldn't make for much of a lightsaber fight.
Unsurprisingly, scientists and creators alike have utilised other processes in their quest to create real life lightsabers. Take Allen Pan from the YouTube channel Sufficiently Advanced, he turned to a mixture of methanol, acetone and butane to ignite a beam strong enough to light a cigarette. When combined with the appropriate sound effects, Pan's creation is not far removed from the real deal. The “lasersaber” is also not a million miles away with its use of an Arctic Spyder 3 laser. Unfortunately, lasers are incredibly dangerous, what with their ability to seriously burn skin and even blind.
In conclusion, real life lightsabers aren't as unobtainable as we may think. Sure, plasma blades and laser beams are highly unstable, incredibly power-hungry, and ultimately very dangerous, but the progress we've already made in advancing this technology is awe-inspiring. And who's to say what discoveries we will make in the future? After all, look how different technology is today to what it was a mere ten years ago. So it's not that far of a stretch to imagine fully working lightsabers at some point in the future. Just don't expect the freedom to run around the streets duelling all of your mates...