How would you design a lightsaber?

Celebrate Star Wars Day with a little future tech

To celebrate Star Wars Day (right, let's get this out of the way - May the Fourth be with you!), British Gas has teamed up with futurologist science fiction tech expert Dr Ian Pearson to muse on just how easy it would be to build the most iconic tech in TV and film.

So how about the most iconic weapon in sci-fi, the humble lightsaber? Dr Peason's own design for a lightsaber relies on self-organising flecks of graphene coated with carbon nanotube electron pipes to create that tubular shape. These flakes act as a reflector to a high power laser beam that's potentiall powerful enough to cut through steel (or wrists).

According to the tongue-in-cheek report - entitled 'Smart Fiction: The Truth Behind Sci-Fi Tech' - such a weapon would take 100,000W to power (that's about 10 electric showers blasting at once), which translates to about £372 every 24 hours.

When it comes to the world of Star Trek and the iconic means of transport that is the Transporter, it would cost a mere £3.72 per day, with only 1,000W (a regular fan heater). However, this is based on Dr Pearson's rather modest version that transports your consciousness to a machine. The one from the show would cost a whopping £1,000,000,000,000,000 to run. Yikes.

"The science fiction genre is famous for its use of imaginative gadgets -- so fans will be glad to know that many of these are feasible in reality," comments Dr Pearson. "With some careful modifications, we could create many of our favourite items of sci-fi technology, and surprisingly they'd cost no more to run than some of our most common household appliances.”

Why not check out: 20 movie gadgets that you can actually own right now