Disney patent hints at plan for ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber experience

By Ashley Carter, Attractions Insider
Last Updated: Monday, January 08, 2018, 4:04 PM EST

A recently-published patent application from Disney Enterprises hints at a possible “Star Wars” lightsaber experience.

The patent is titled “systems and methods for augmenting an appearance of a hilt to simulate a bladed weapon.” It was originally filed in September 2017.

The summary included in the document describes “an overlay image” being used to create the blade portion of the weapon. The overlay would give the appearance that the “blade of the bladed weapon is attached to the hilt.”

Drawing from a Disney Enterprise patent application. (U.S. Patent Office)

The overlay image would likely be seen through an augmented reality headset.

“In some implementations, the display may include one or more of a head-mounted display, an optical head-mounted display, a see-through display, an optical see-through display, a video see-through display, a visor, eyeglasses, and/or other display,” the document states.

The technology would allow the hilt to be configured for different types of experiences.

The weapon could be "broadsword, an axe, or a katana," the document states. Meaning, it could be used beyond the Star Wars universe.

This could be linked to a Disney patent published in 2016 for an “audience interaction projection system.” Users would be able to deflect laser beams in real time using something similar to a lightsaber.

“An entertainment environment has a user with a faux light saber that interacts with a drone flying through the air or operated with hidden rods to appear as if it is flying through the air,” according to the patent.

The lightsabers would also feature haptic feedback, which would give users the sensation of the beams being deflected.

It’s not hard to imagine Disney bringing this technology to the parks.

The company plans to open “Star Wars”-themed lands at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The 14-acre expansion is expected to immerse guests in the Star Wars universe, with visitors able to “build a reputation” through their experiences.

“What I love about the park is you will live it,” said Douglas Chiang, a creative executive at Lucasfilm, during a Star Wars Celebration panel last year.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is expected to open at both parks in 2019.

At the moment, there's no official word on whether this technology will be brought to the theme parks.

Disney files hundreds of patents, many of which never become reality.

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