Montreal

Star Wars-inspired lightsaber toy being developed in Sherbrooke, Que.

In a laboratory on the outskirts of Sherbrooke, Que., two men are working to realize their dream of creating the world’s best, most realistic lightsaber-imitation toy in the world.

Wannabe Jedis could find the toy they are looking for in new, realistic prototype

Christian Bédard (left) and Patrick Lessard (right) have created prototypical versions of their lightsaber-inspired toy, the LEDsaber. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

In a laboratory on the outskirts of Sherbrooke, Que., two men are working to realize their dream of creating the world's best, most realistic lightsaber-imitation toy in the world.

Engineers Patrick Lessard and Christian Bédard are the minds behind Calimacil, a company that makes and distributes LARPing swords made out of high-quality foam.

Earlier this year, they decided to try to use their expertise to build immersive, LED-lit lightsaber-inspired toy that won't hurt when duellers land blows on their opponents.

Creating new technology

So far, that's involved inventing a type of foam that's both durable and translucent, as well as finding lights to colour the sword from top to bottom — without breaking during combat.

"It's a very advanced technology and it's stretching our knowledge," said Bédard.

The duo have no ties to Lucasfilm or Disney, so they can't used the trademarked term "lightsaber." To get around that, they're calling their toy the "LEDsaber."

Video games, but without the screen

The prototype has a corresponding app that lets owners change the swords colours — to traditional Sith red or Jedi blue and green, but also into a less-traditional rainbow or orange.

As well, if development continues to go smoothly, there'll be a built-in motion sensor so players can do "training" sessions through the app.

Lessard and Bédard also want to create a mechanism that connects multiple LEDsabers, so they can duel against each other.

"We're both parents. Our mission is to try and have the kids going outside and playing outside. That's our mindset," said Bédard.

"Basically the idea we have is to kill the screen and just go, play."
The company developing the LEDsaber, Calimacil, also makes foam swords for live action role play. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Earlier this year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development. They sailed past their first goal of $50,000 and are currently sitting just under $100,000.

"It's a good reaction and it's telling us, 'yes, people want this,' and they want us to work harder on this type of project."

The crowdsourcing campaign will continue until May 2016. After that, Lessard and Bédard will work on making the LEDsaber into something that can be sold in stores.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate McKenna is a journalist with CBC Montreal. Email her at kate.mckenna@cbc.ca.

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