Green Room

It’s here: MIT and Harvard build a real lightsaber

posted at 3:06 pm on September 26, 2013 by

Get ready Star Wars fans, your biggest dream may have just come true. Scientists at MIT say they’ve created a real lightsaber. Rejoice!

That’s right, researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have built an actual lightsaber, like the ones used in the Star Wars saga.

Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuleti led the study.

The team of physicists say they have discovered a new kind of matter, using things called “Photonic Molecules.”

They say unlike typical lasers which pass right through each other, these bind together so you can whack them against each other.

They say it all ends up looking like the iconic Jedi weapon.

Throwing this into the political arena, the lightsaber development comes just two days after Republican Senator Ted Cruz quoted Darth Vader from the Senate floor during his 21-hour stand against Obamacare.

For good measure, here are some of the top Star Wars lightsaber duels.

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Harvard?

Don’t they specialize in hiring faux Indians with high-cheek bones and hiding the transcripts of future community-organizers-cum-Presidents?

Bitter Clinger on September 26, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Pics or it didn’t happen!

Othniel on September 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

No videos nor pictures of it in action. Journalism at it’s finest.

nobar on September 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let’s see how well you handle it!

Shepherd Lover on September 26, 2013 at 3:30 PM

I designed one as a kid, after seeing Star Wars.

Not sure it would work though. You would need a pretty high powered laser, more powerful than you could pack into something the size of a flashlight.

UltimateBob on September 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I wonder how strong it would be. Could be adapted into shielding?

kerrhome on September 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM

I designed one as a kid, after seeing Star Wars.

Not sure it would work though. You would need a pretty high powered laser, more powerful than you could pack into something the size of a flashlight.

UltimateBob on September 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

You mean, like this?;

DIY lightsaber is almost as dangerous as the real thing

Actually, what you’ve got here is not a “lightsaber”, but a “flashlight-laser” out of Larry Niven’s Known Space stories. (Which predate Lucas’ movies by about a decade, BTW.)

A flashlight-laser is significantly more dangerous than a lightsaber;

In Larry Niven’s Ringworld, the explorers are equipped with “flashlight-lasers”, an item of questionable safety. Over and above the engineering problems associated with designing a laser that can also produce non-coherent light, the dual use aspect is dangerous. One can imagine a wilderness explorer awakened by a strange sound in the camp and sleepily slicing their tent to ribbons because the flashlight laser was set to the wrong mode.

-Winchell Chung, Atomic Rocket website, Exotic Sidearms section

Also consider that if it emits coherent light at that intensity, it can cause serious retinal damage even if you’re not looking straight into it. Doubly so if it has strong UV or IR emission spectra.

As for the MIT “lightsaber”. so far they’ve only demonstrated photonic “clumping” in a cold-gas environment. Let me know when (a) they can do it in the open air, (b) they can limit the “range” to a meter or so, and (c) contact with the “beam” results in damage equivalent to a high-energy (plasma or oxy-acetylene) cutting torch, only faster, as in “instantaneous on contact”. Which for most structural materials, will require a lot of energy transfer, coming so fast there’s no chance for it to bleed off by radiation into the surrounding air before the material is “flashed to incandescence”, as “Doc” Smith would say.

Until then, I’ll stick to a katana. Or for that matter, a Louisville Slugger.

cheers

eon

eon on September 26, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Great a new weapon?

That is just what we need.

But yes it is cool.

petunia on September 26, 2013 at 4:05 PM

I’ll stick to a good old fashioned blaster.

CurtZHP on September 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

MIT for the technology, Harvard for the light-saber control movement?

Frankly, m’dear, I suspect a hoax.

PersonFromPorlock on September 26, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

trigon on September 26, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

trigon on September 26, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Hey, just what you see, pal.

Steve Eggleston on September 26, 2013 at 4:49 PM

I’m calling BS on this one. So many questions. How do they power it? How do they limit the range of the beam? “Photonic Molecules.”? heheheheh

Dr. Frank Enstine on September 26, 2013 at 5:50 PM

The only contribution I can imagine Harvard making would be if the energy source was supplied by bullsh*t.

NoPain on September 27, 2013 at 12:23 AM

Aren’t you all supposed to complain about how this is a waste of government money?

calbear on September 27, 2013 at 1:28 AM

I’ll stick to a good old fashioned blaster.

CurtZHP on September 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

What, no “hokey religion” comment there Han?

:)

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on September 27, 2013 at 1:51 AM

The team of physicists say they have discovered a new kind of matter, using things called “Photonic Molecules.”

Somebody’s pranking us.

Aitch748 on September 27, 2013 at 5:54 AM

Like the man sez…….Pics or it didn’t happen!

t on September 27, 2013 at 8:07 AM

This wouldn’t be the first time a bunch of “scientists” got together and punked the gullible public, now would it?

ExpressoBold on September 27, 2013 at 8:37 AM

I’m calling BS on this one. So many questions. How do they power it? How do they limit the range of the beam? “Photonic Molecules.”? heheheheh

Dr. Frank Enstine on September 26, 2013 at 5:50 PM

UWTB power packs, L-Tubes as described by Asimov and force field limiters with iso-thermic quadraphasic coagulaters. Hope that clears things up for you.

Oldnuke on September 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM