This week it was discovered that Disney has recently filed a patent that may make every Star Wars fan’s dream a reality: real-life lightsabers. In the patent, titled “Audience Interaction Projection System,” Disney describes a “device” – aka lightsaber – that can have light reflected off of it helping to determine its location. The description of the patent leaves several hints as to where this tech may be used. “A new way for an audience member to participate in an entertainment experience … theme park feature … the audience member may actually feel as if they are launching powerful beams of laser-like light toward objects on the stage.”
All of the terminology used to describe the application of this tech definitely suggests its potential utilization in Star Wars Land. Where this projection lightsaber will be used specifically? We don’t know just yet. Our best guess would be some sort of stage show with animatronics and volunteers. The patent describes “audience members” utilizing this tech and deflecting lasers onto a stage. Based on the projection technology required to pull this off, a better word to describe who will be using this tech would be volunteers from the audience. Based on the concept art we have of Star Wars Land right now, we don’t know any details on stage shows coming to the land but there is a show this could apply to outside of Star Wars Land itself. Could this be the next-gen Jedi Training Academy? We will see. The patent details the real-life lightsabers interacting with animatronic Star Wars characters though. The use of projection technology and drones leads us to believe this may be a nighttime-show-only feature or a piece of tech created for indoor environments.
The projection technology needed to pull off this effect looks to be not much less complicated than just making a real lightsaber! Not only will the lightsaber be equipped with multiple LED’s to pull off the laser beam-deflection effect, but the saber is also said to be able to communicate with drones that can project laser beams in the user’s environment.
Disney drone patents have been filed many times over these past few years. From rumors of a new drone show to replace Illuminations in Epcot, to a new drone show to replace the Electrical Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon. One of Disney’s latest “Disney Drone” patents focuses specifically on projector-equipped drones. Perhaps these drones don’t have to be shows in and of themselves as originally assumed but also used in other ways like stage shows with lightsaber-wielding audience members!
Another feature mentioned in the patent is the use of “haptic feedback.” Haptic feedback or “haptics” is the use of vibrations and other effects to make a simulated experience more tactile and real to the end user. The saber could vibrate with its immense power. Plasma blades are no joke! Perhaps these real-life lightsabers could even violently shake in response to a simulated laser beam deflecting off.
As with all Disney patents, they may never see the light of day or make it to a Disney Park, but this tech is a bit too awesome not to be under serious consideration. A real-life lightsaber?! There is a lot unclear in this patent, so we should hear more about this project soon enough. The force is with you, Disney theme park guest!