real lightsabers

Disney has filed a patent that will put lightsabers in the hands of theme park guests, allowing them to wield them in ways never before seen — deflecting real laser blasts from animatronic stormtroopers and oncoming Imperial ships. Learn more about this possible Star Wars Land next generation real lightsabers experience, after the jump.

lightsaber patent

Disney has filed a new patent (US 20160201888 A1) for an “Audience interaction projection system,” which is described as:

“A process and system capture invisible radiation that is reflected or emitted from an object to precisely locate the object. The process and system project visible light from a light source toward the object such that the light is precisely targeted at the object. Preferably, the visible light passes through an atmosphere containing particulate matter rendering the visible light as a beam that appears to emanate from the object rather than from the light source.”

But reading that paragraph, it’s hard to make any sense of it. Here is an easier to understand explanation (with help from PatentYogi):

 

  • Drones fly over the audience filling the air with some particulate matter (such as water vapor, condensed water, liquid nitrogen) creating a fog effect.
  • Some audience members are provided with Lightsabers that include LEDs which transmit IR light up to the drones.
  • As a LED is turned on, a ray of light emits from the lightsaber hilt like it would a real lightsaber.
  • But also an invisible IR beam is transmitted from the lightsaber to the drones which allow them to capture an image of the field of view and exactly where the lightsaber blades are in the 3D space.
  • An animatronic figure will fire laser blasts at the participating audience members. The drone can project a visible light through the particulate matter toward the lightsaber, allowing the audience member to deflect a laser beam.
  • The lightsabers feature a haptic feedback which makes the audience members feel the force of the laser deflection and the ignition of the lightsaber blade.
  • Its also provide the audience members with haptic feedback vests which would allow them to feel the hit of a laser blast that was missed by the lightsaber.

What this means is that participating members of this ride/show/attraction/whatever, will be able to hold a lightsaber and wield it like a real Jedi, deflecting oncoming blaster fire from Galactic baddies. You will feel the laser blasts as they hit you or your lightsaber. It will feel more real than ever before.

Now we don’t know for sure what attraction Disney may be using this new technology. The patents indicate that a lot of lightsaber-wielding park guests can be in the action at one time, but I’m not sure Disney wants the liability of many people swinging poles around in close quarters with other park guests. Also keep in mind that this patent was filed almost a year before Disney announced the upcoming Star Wars-themed lands were coming to Disneyland and Disney World, so the concept we see in the park could be much more advanced than this.

We have heard in the past that Disney Imagineering was working out ways for park guests to be able to use their Force powers throughout the new lands, something akin to how Universal Studios has interactive wands in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But this lightsaber experience sounds like something that would take place on a ride or attraction.

My guess is that this new technology could be applied in a new version of the Jedi Training Academy experience. If not that, maybe a paid experience like the shooting gallery in Frontierland, allowing theme park guests to step into a battle with the Imperials or First Order. But my guess is as good as yours at this point.

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