Lightsaber! Lightfields + Diffusors



Volumetric shaping of light using lenses, light sources, and diffusors. Real photo on the left. Luxrender simulation in the middle. Photo of v0 on the right.

We are building and showcasing a lightsaber with a beam that can be switched on and off. All the electronics and optics are contained within the handle, so when the lightsaber is off, all you see is the handle. When the lightsaber is on, a beam of light emerges that ends at the tip of the lightsaber. The lightsaber works in a fog-filled environment, where the beam can reflect off of the tiny fog-particles. The beam energy is safe (won’t cut through anything), but looks really cool.

Lightsabers are characterized by two things. The first is a beam of light. We solve that by using a light source located in the hilt of the saber, and immersing the whole thing in a fog-filled environment. The second part, is making the beam of light stop (not travel forever). Our setup works by relaxing the constraint that the beam of light has to abruptly end at a certain distance. We interpreted the problem instead as the beam energy has to degrade at a high rate. In order to accomplish that, we use a combination of multiple light-sources and lenses to create a volumetric projection of light which degrades non-linearly with distance. We have built a proof of concept prototype using a fish-tank, fog, and projectors. Furthermore, we have a simulation using a physically-based ray-tracer to show how the final design will look.

For the demo, we want to fill a room with fog and give people two of the light-saber prototypes and let them fight with them. By tracking the lightsabers with off-the-shelf RF tags, we can simulate the effect of the light-sabers clashing.

Please also see posts on how to simulate lenses for this project:

An image of the first prototype:

A look at how diffusion affects the sabers:

A discussion on how it works in fog and possible next steps:


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