Canadian special effects workshop Hacksmith Industries has released a video showcasing its latest invention: a truly functional and somewhat genuine lightsaber. As in Star Wars movies, the sword “blade” can be turned on and off, leaving only the handle in the off position.
Physically, the sword blade is a flame of about 2,200 degrees, about a meter long, that burns propane in pure oxygen. However, the computer-controlled gas flow fed through the laminar nozzle does not look more like a flame or a torch, but rather an amazingly stable and straightforward blade of light. The video immersion of the invention is below.
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Product development to build a true lightsaber has been a goal for Hacksmith Industries for several years. The company succeeded in this last winter, but with a completely different technology. Hacksmith’s previous light sword was a titanium-tungsten rod heated to about 1,500 degrees with a short-circuit current (video immersion at the end of the text).
In both interpretations of the Sword of Light, one might say that there are sides. The flame-based sword is retractable, hotter and looks much more authentic in glow. Metal rods, on the other hand, can be used with swords as in movies as a whole, which is probably not very easy to do with a flame.
In both cases, the power supply has been external – in the latest implementation, a portable gas tank pack, the last time a battery backpack. As the director of the company James Hobson notes in the video, even the most imaginative special effects men can do nothing for the laws of physics: there is simply not enough energy in the handle.
So in the language of sci-fi literature, it is exactly so-called ”protomiekoista” (engl. protknow), which are equivalent in function to a light sword but require an external belt or back energy pack.
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Hacksmith Industries also plans to release a video of practical tests of its flame-based lightsaber.
In anticipation of it, below is a March humor-spiced video of practical testing of a metallic lightsaber. The actual fencing leg starts at 9:05. A video on the design and construction of a metallic lightsaber, released last December, can be found behind this link (no immersion).
The story was originally published In Tekniikka & Talous magazine.