Ever since Obi-Wan Kenobi first handed Luke Skywalker a lightsaber that belonged to Luke’s father (Yes, we know canon is earlier), audience members have been captivated by the idea of an energy sword. The endless possibilities presented by a weapon that can cut through practically anything and is fueled by our ability to wield the force is deceptively enticing.
While amateur and professional scientists, engineers, and Sci-Fi inspired enthusiasts keep trying to perfect the technology, collectors and fans of the Star Wars franchise can own a lightsaber from a number of retail and boutique shops. The only problem is that many dedicated and unapologetic fans are often not satisfied by the simple construction and boring light show of lightsabers from big box stores. That is where neopixel technology comes into save the day.
What is Neopixel?
While the standard RGB lightsaber is pretty good for active combat, the new hotness from neopixel tech is way more the speed of affluent collectors. When you turn on a neopixel lightsaber, you get a much fuller experience with a brighter light that has a special radiance similar to what we’ve all cherished in the movies.
Not only does neopixel enhance a brighter lightsaber, but it also makes its design more versatile. A neopixel saber has different LED strips inside the blade instead of just in the hilt. That means you get way more capability for special effects, colors, and tailored animations. It also means you can play a bit more with the overall design of your lightsaber (a la Kylo Ren).
What Can You Do with a Neopixel Lightsaber?
First off, yes, you can do some light to medium dueling if needed. The construction of flexible LEDs inside the blade allows for some damage, but we’d suggest avoiding full-on Darth Maul fight scene recreation.
Other than battle, neopixel lightsabers offer a wet dream to cosplayers and collectors. The different configurations of blade scrolling effects, animations, blaster bolt deflection, unstable blade effects, and more are only limited by your imagination.
With neopixel, you can build a completely customizable lightsaber that emulates your favorite character from the mind of George Lucas or dive into your own fantasy and develop a persona outside canon for a more personalized experience.
The advantage of these builds is that the individual LEDs can be uniquely controlled for different effects. This gives you way more versatility over standard RGB baselit lightsabers. As for the rest of the build, everything is pretty much the same. The hilt still houses all the electronics, batteries, and soundboards to elevate your lightsaber experience.
You do need to keep in mind that neopixel technology is more power-hungry than RGB lightsabers. Even though they use LED tech, they will drain a battery faster. If you plan on using your neopixel lightsaber for a cosplay convention or party, you may want to bring backup batteries.
Check out the blade extension and retraction during lightsaber ignition and shutdown. These effects are made possible by neopixel technology.