As if the release of the brand new Star Wars trailer wasn’t enough, it seems that every day we get a little bit closer to that galaxy far, far away. Whilst we may not be in that story that existed a long time ago, we’re slowly catching up with some of the absolutely mind blowing technology that existed in the incredible intergalactic saga.
And what’s more – it’s with lasers! Which, if we dare say so, is pretty awesome. It’s nothing new to see Sci-Fi influence the real world, but the technology provided by lasers has really given us something to shout about.
From some of the small gadgetry of the original trilogy, through to cutting edge tech inspired by a mere 30 seconds of the new film, perhaps our dream of finally becoming a Jedi Master is coming that little bit more true. Or, if you hear the dark side calling, the power of a Sith Lord is coming closer to your grasp.
Below, we’ve found three incredible ways that lasers are making Star Wars real.
Lasers can project Holograms to Obi Wan
Following an exciting escape from Darth Vader, the film’s favourite Droid R2-D2(sorry C3p0) reveals a secret message to Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker from Princess Leia.
Image Courtesy of doddleme.com
The scratchy blue hologram features some groundbreaking special effects for its time, made all the more believable by its gritty appearance. Yet despite this rather low definition projection, we haven’t been able to recreate this device in the real world. Until now.
Previously, the closest we thought we were to a real life hologram was in the appearance of Tupac at Coachella, but as this report states, this was more crafty CGI and mirrors than it was a holographic entity. In actuality, past developments of holograms have required the use of a wall of fog or mist to allow a 3D appearing projection. However, the recent developments by the Aerial Burton company have taken us closer than we’ve ever been before.
As you can see from that image, it’s a floating picture in the sky. Sure, for many it isn’t a flying Carrie Fisher, but it’s closer than we’ve ever been before.
The Japanese company have discovered a way to project light without the need to bounce it off mist, fog or mirrors, and are creating some pretty cool images. From a flying butterfly to a teapot, the dots are rudimentary but show the promise of a future where we may be able to receive our own 3D messages, but hopefully not about an impending Empire attack.
The technology works by not only using a laser, but a 3D scanner too. The 1KW infrared plasma laser fires pulses to set points in the air that are set by the scanner. Looking further, how this technology works is even more incredible. It produces the plasma light that is given off by ionising the air and it actually turns the air into light.
Because plasma bursts last a short time, the laser is required to pulse to maintain a consistent beam. We may be a while off full human holograms, but we’re closer than ever before.
Lasers Can give the Death Star its Ultimate Weapon
image courtesy of starwars.wikia.org
Beyond the masked legions of henchmen and the classic science fiction villain decor, the first sign you get of the Empire’s true evil nature is the destruction of Alderaan, a whole innocent planet wiped off the face of existence. From this point in, there’s no doubt of the impressive and terrifying power that the Sith Lords hold above the Rebel resistance.
Many of you reading this, especially the laser fans, will no doubt already know where we’re going here. Whilst we’re a little way off a fully functioning 3D hologram system, there are actually weapon-grade laser beams.
Lasers have been the weapon of choice for science fiction franchises since before the technology was actually discovered. With their low energy usage to an immensely high heat production, they can offer an armour piercing beam that doesn’t rely on bullets or ammunition. So it’s no surprise that a pipe dream amongst the military has always been to produce working laser weaponry.
Behold! The laser beam in all its glory!
Early in December 2014, the Pentagon revealed their recently deployed raygun weaponry, a navy bound device that could take drones and other moving targets to task. Currently situated in the Persian Gulf, it’s the first time that an energy directed system has been used.
A shot will almost immediately hit its targets and can be prepared for another shot within seconds. Scarier still, unlike the Death Star, with it’s rather flamboyant green light show, a shot from this device is invisible. Whilst it can seem like a worrying new technological advance, there are a number of features that surprisingly make it safer than previous weapon systems.
For one, the use of a laser beam means that missiles and bombs aren’t needed, reducing the chance of explosions or fallout from shots to civilians and other nearby innocents. Secondly, the lasers are much cheaper to create than traditional ammunitions, and use less energy to fire.
Whilst you may not often associate the Death Star with eco credentials (I didn’t see a recycling centre in that waste disposal area), their weaponry was possibly the most energy efficient mass destruction device available.
Lightsabers! Lightsabers! Lasers are making Lightsabers!
The weapon of choice for Jedi and Sith, this sword is a solid beam of light that cuts through steel just as easy as butter, taking faceless baddies to task and giving us some of cinema’s best fight scenes. Like a space age knight, this is a weapon of honour and chivalry, but most importantly, it looks awesome.
There is little doubt that if anyone took one piece of information away from the Star Wars franchise it was that lightsabers are just about the coolest. Unsurprisingly then, there’s been wave after wave of enthusiasts and scientists attempting to crack the riddle of lightsaber technology.
Which is why we’re so excited to tell you about the incredible ways that you can have your very own lightsaber. And we’re not just talking about a plastic toy one either. A laser power beam of light that, whilst not cutting through ne’er do wells, certainly looks incredible.
Well, there are plenty of examples to choose from, ranging from the ludicrously expensive to groundbreaking discoveries and free to build options. Just how realistic you want your lightsaber is the real question.
Firstly, there’s Ultra Sabers. This American company will offer you a massive range of lightsabers to choose from, whether it’s one that closely resembles your favourite characters luminous blade or completely of your own imagination.
As the advert shows though, whilst these look great, they’re perhaps not so far off a fancy toy. Using LEDs and fancy soundboard is good, but need we mention there’s no lasers being used here? Also these options aren’t particularly cheap, and may cost you a pretty penny for an item that’s more a torch than sword.
Next up then, is the research currently being carried out by Harvard and MIT to construct an actual lightsaber. This tricky bit of technology is still in the research phase, however, recent studies have revealed a manipulation of atoms that closely resemble the appearance and effects of the famed light swords.
As the photons are pushing and deflecting off one another contains the potential to produce a beam of light. But don’t worry, an integral part of this proposed device is the use of lasers. In this case, they shine from six different sides, acting to cool the atoms down and create a level of consistency.
Unfortunately, this 2013 article has yet to make good on the promise of a brave new weapon for a more civilised age. However, for those who can’t bear to wait any longer, then take a look at the work by wicked lasers.
The company that specialises in powerful laser pointers have released their very own designs for the new cross saber, a weapon brandished by a mysterious Sith figure in the recent trailer.
Whilst it’s still not a fully functioning lightsaber – with the beams similar to a laser pointer not stopping to form a blade – it’s available to download these files for use with a 3D printer for absolutely free. To many it may seem like a marketing trick, but its also the closest that we mere mortals can get to wielding the latest lightsaber technology.
Star Wars and Lasers
At Subcon Lasers, we’re proud of the work we do with laser cutting and also the incredible opportunities that it offers. With these few short examples we hope to have shown you the integral role that lasers play in shaping our future, even if it may seem like science fiction.
Whether it’s the latest in presentation technology or devastating weaponry, the possibilities provided by lasers still seems almost infinite.
What did you think of this blog? Are there any Star Wars technologies you would you like see? Let us know in the comments below!