Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Real-life Lightsabers


Published on Jan 28, 2013

The Metal Vapor Torch might be the next best thing to a lightsaber: a belt tool that can generate a blade of flame that slices through a half-inch steel bar in less than a second.

A real-life lightsaber? Military device cuts through metal

Whether you're Star Wars fan or not, brace yourself. A little-known defense technology firm has developed what's been called the closest thing to a real-life light saber.

Resembling a sturdy metallic flashlight, the Metal Vapor Torch certainly looks the part. With the press of a button, the wielder can ignite a fiery blade powerful enough to slice through solid metal. Energetic Materials & Products is marketing the tool as ideal for pulverizing deadbolts, padlocks, chains and just about any deterrent you can think of. It may be particularly useful for military personnel, police and emergency responders since they're often called to situations in which agents may need to breach a secured site within a matter of seconds.

As Popular Mechanics explains, the torch generates a momentary jet of flame using a complex mechanism that involves copper oxide, magnesium and aluminum particles. The resulting concentrated stream of heat shoots out at a blast speed of over 1,600 miles a second with a temperature above 2,700 degrees Celsius. And as it exits out the rectangular-shaped nozzle, it comes out in the form of a sharp blade.
But sci-fi fans should take note that any comparisons to lightsabers are somewhat of an exaggeration since the technology is, at best, more akin to a burning pocket knife than the laser-powered plasma variety designed to combat evil empires. As you can see from the video, the torch's effect lasts only a few seconds as it relies on disposable fuel cartridges. Still, scaling up the technology, the company says, would enable troops and law enforcement to tear through inch-thick steel and fiberglass.

The Metal Vapor Torch is expected to sell for 135 dollars a unit, with cartridges costing around 35 dollars. A version of the device for testing will be available for defense and police agencies later this year.




Star Wars School: The History of the Lightsaber

Michio Kaku - Can you build a real Lightsaber?

Two Real-life Lightsabers

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Star Wars 7 - The Force Lives On!

STAR WARS - The Birth of the Light Saber

Right below is a new 15-Minute Star Wars featurette explaining the origins of the lightsaber. Featuring Star Wars creator George Lucas, Luke Skywalker himself Mark Hamill, and sound designer Ben Burtt discussing the concept and creation of what is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. It also includes some rare behind-the-scenes footage from Return of the Jedi...

George Lucas recalls that Star Wars was influenced by pirate and swashbuckling films of the '40s, which showcased the romantic side of fighting, illustrated in characters like Errol Flynn's Robin Hood. With Jedi, who were heroes in this tradition, the director needed a weapon that would match their ideals. In a clip from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the lightsaber is introduced by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who says it's "not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age." Thus, the lightsaber also became a symbol for more peaceful, honorable times, representing what the galaxy was like before the Empire. Originally, Lucas says, Jedi were meant to fight with just swords. But to give the weapon a technological edge, they became "laser swords," able to deflect incoming fire -- which made sense, character-wise, as Jedi were not meant to be warlike, aggressive fighters.

The choreography and duels started simple, but became more emotional and complex as the series went on. Mark Hamill states that Lucas originally envisioned lightsaber hilts as being very, very heavy, always requiring two hands. But with a desire to make the sword fighting faster and more intense, they slowly moved away from the two-handed form. The technology used to create the glowing blade of lightsabers also changed as the series progressed.

In rare behind-the-scenes footage from Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker battles Darth Vader, and Hamill explains that metal poles were required so that the actors could have a realistic battle. Otherwise, one wouldn't know where to stop their hands and finish a strike.

Ben Burtt says that the lightsaber was the first sound he created for the film. Upon hearing the hum of an old film projector idling, he felt it was the perfect, saying it was "musical, in a way. 'That's probably what a lightsaber would sound like.'" Burtt wanted another element -- the iconic whooshing sound -- which he accidentally created through electronic feedback.

In discussing the intensity of the lightsaber duels, Lucas says it changed with each film, often times reflecting the emotions of Luke and the ongoing story. Still Luke was not trained as a Jedi in the classic sense. It wasn't until Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace that audiences would see Jedi battling in their prime; the duels were more aggressive and acrobatic than anything seen in the original trilogy, and only grew in scale and intensity as the series continued. 


Anakin/Luke Skywalker - Late Goodbye