Was there anyone who did not want to be a Jedi? I may be biased as both an 80’s baby as well as a card-carrying member of the Geek Brigade, but I certainly did and so did most of the Geeks I knew then and since.

Jedis are great. Not only rebels with a very good cause, they have telekinesis and laser swords to back up their own declaration of independence. The few billion dollars LucasFilms and LucasArts have raked in since then would indicate that many would tend to agree with me. In North America in any case.

The ‘ol trilogy never really caught on in the old Evil Soviet Empire for some crazy reason. Enough of a splash in fact to justify, at least in a financial sense, another two whole trilogies. The less said about that the better.

No matter what context they may appear, however, be it films, video games, comic books novels, or, ahem, cartoon series, the Jedi Knights and their amazing, metal melting laser swords – just imagine how quickly the Crusades would have ended if the English had those! – are, unarguably, the best part of the Star Wars Universe (what the big deal is with Boba Fett I will never know).

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While instances telekinesis have yet to be found in nature, let alone the human genome even a mutated one, the laser swords have always seemed more within the realm of hard science. There are lasers, there are swords. Why not combine them? No really, could a real-life lightsaber be possible within our lifetime?

A Matter of Time?

According to the experts, the predicted life expectancy for those born after 1980 is upwards of 100. 115 in some cases. Despite the slight head start some of us might have, that is s still nearly 70 years scientists have to come up with a viable, real life lightsaber. Hopefully this will make a difference.

The real life Lightsaber doesn’t come without its challenges

The largest challenge in creating a portable, switch activated laser sword, are those of size and sustainability. There are lasers, even cutting lasers that exist today, but they are not what one would call ‘compact’. This is not an issue per se however. When one looks at the history of computers over the past 70 years from Turing’s room-sized code breaker to tablets and smartphones, odds look fairly good.

Sustainability, on the other hand, could be more of a challenge. Making a cutting laser is certainly possible. Creating a cutting laser and then getting to hold in the same place, at a high level for an extended period without sustained triggering or the metal handle getting hot is another. Again though, science is on it.

Controlled lasers

If a laser generator could be miniaturized to the point of fitting into something that looks like a sword handle, said sword handle could be made out of the newly discovered alloy that can handle heats close to that of the sun. In all, it is indeed possible for there to be something resembling a real-life lightsaber should well be possible within the next 70 years. The only real compromise may be that one will need to hold the trigger while using it.

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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.

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