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How close are we to ‘Star Wars’ technology? These professors break it down

Unfortunately we’re a ways away from hologram selfies.

Feb 29, 2020, 2:36 pm*

Internet Culture

 

Cynthia McKelvey

The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering recently invited Chewbacca to come and talk to some of their professors about how the technology in Star Wars is or isn’t light years ahead of what we have here on Earth.

First there’s the pressing question of when we’re going to be able to send holographic messages through droids. Unfortunately, hologram technology isn’t there yet—we can’t digitally record holograms. But they do make a holographic R2D2.

Similarly, the droids in Star Wars are also beyond our capabilities. Robotics is closer to Star Wars droids than hologram technology, but things like locomotion are a challenge.

Propulsion is a huge issue with space travel. And while Star Wars seems to be the “land of infinite fuel,” we’re not that close behind to developing some very powerful thrusters ourselves. The power needed to propel things like TIE fighters, however, is far greater than anything we can imagine—at least for now.

But, theoretically, we could freeze someone in carbonite. Super-cooling water keeps liquid below its freezing point, causing it to freeze solid almost instantly when perturbed the right way. In theory, one could submerge a person in this super-cooled water and then give the solution enough energy to freeze them like they did with Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.

And now for what you’re all really waiting for: lightsabers. When are we getting them, for real? Probably never, at least as we can conceive of them. Lightsabers defy the laws of physics since the light is contained in some finite way, and when two lightsabers cross, they don’t go through each other.

Bummer, right? But at least the other technologies are more tenable. We can’t wait until BB-8 and R2D2 are real.

H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via Michigan Engineering/YouTube

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*First Published: Dec 14, 2015, 8:47 pm