Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Disney invents useless "real lightsaber" that can't even cut your son's hand off

Artist’s rendering of what’s soon to be a typical Disney boardroom meeting.
Artist’s rendering of what’s soon to be a typical Disney boardroom meeting.
Screenshot: Alex

Likely concerned that its fans are getting too close to figuring out the ancient Jedi techniques required to make a glowing laser sword on their own, Disney has decided to get down to business and finally give the world a company-created, working lightsaber.

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Following news that this lightsaber—now the second-most powerful weapon in the House Of Mouse’s arsenal after its fleet of copyright lawyers—had been shown at an online theme parks conference, Star Wars fan and software/web developer Ben Ridout looked into the related patent. He then explained how the device could work in a Twitter thread.

Despite the important caveat that “it won’t melt through metal blast doors, or cut off your hand”—something we would argue means Disney has omitted at least two of the device’s key features—Ridout writes that the lightsaber “does feature an illuminated blade that will extend and retract at the push of a button.”

He explains that this is possible thanks to the patent expanding on the same engineering principles behind the tape measure. “The curve in [the measure’s] steel provides strength and the mostly flat tape can still be wound up on a reel inside the body of the tape measure,” he writes. Disney’s designers have modified this concept to create a cylindrical version made of flexible plastic and LED tape that’s also capable of extending or retracting “in less than 1 second.”

Again, this is very neat, but we have to question the company’s claim that this is, indeed, a “real” lightsaber. If the weapon doesn’t let users slice the arms off yetis or mutilate their own children in a high-stakes family meeting, what’s the point? Still, we imagine Disney will still be eager to show off the capabilities of its invention soon enough. To that point, we suggest it ignores the stunt sword fighters and actors you might expect, and put it in the hands of a real aficionado—a laser sword maestro like T-Pain—instead.

[via Digital Spy]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.