Admit it. You’ve wanted to engage in a lightsaber duel ever since you saw your first "Star Wars" film.
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Soon that fantasy could come to life — minus, thankfully, the whole severed hand thing — if a patent application filed by Disney Enterprises turns out to be what it appears to be.
Disney is building 14-acre Star Wars theme parks at Disney World and Disneyland, and its application last month for an “Audience Interaction Projection System” suggests that it plans to give visitors to the new parks a chance to operate what will look, feel and behave like real-life lightsabers.
Exactly how they’ll work is described in the patent’s abstract:
"A process and system capture infrared light that is reflected or emitted from a device to precisely locate the device. The process and system project visible light from a light source toward the device such that the light is precisely targeted at the device. Preferably the visible light passes through an atmosphere containing particulate matter rendering the visible light as a beam that appears to emanate from the device rather than from the light source."
Let’s try that again, in English this time:
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Visitors will walk into a theater where the air is filled with some “particulate matter” — such as water vapor, condensed water, liquid nitrogen, dust or theatrical fog — and will be given an LED-beaming “lightsaber” that transmits infrared [IR] light. Small drones flying above you, or stationary objects like disco balls, shoot out beams of light that, like your lightsaber’s LED beams, are visible due to the particulate matter in the air.
When your lightsaber’s IR rays intersect the light from the objects above you, it creates the illusion of deflecting a laser beam.
The lightsabers also could be designed to provide a haptic effect, such as a pulse or vibration, when the beams intersect, Patent Yogi reported, to allow users to really feel the force.
But even if this what Disney has in mind, the entertainment giant isn't ready to fully disclose any details.
“We continuously innovate and file hundreds of patents that may or may not have any business unit application,” a Disney Parks representative told Gizmodo’s io9 blog. “We have nothing to announce about this at this time.”
But if it comes to pass, it will be a lot more fun than swinging a long plastic tube.
May the force be with all of us.