Star Wars tech in a galaxy too far, far away

Greg HornsbyGeraldton Guardian

It’s been 40 years since the first Star Wars movie was released on May 25, 1977. The world has changed a lot in that time.

In 1977 there was no internet, no mobile phones and not many people had computers.

Technology has developed rapidly since then and changed the world in the process. But we still have some catching up to do when it comes to the technology from that first Star Wars.

One of the most memorable technologies from that first movie is the hologram.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


The scene where a holographic Princess Leia pleads for assistance from Obi-Wan Kenobi is etched in many fans minds.

But today we are no closer to creating real holograms that can be projected into the air than we were in 1977.

The lightsaber is another stand out Star Wars technology.

Lightsabers are made of plasma, powered by the Kyber crystal.

Plasma is the lesser known fourth state of matter, the other three being gas, liquid and solid.

But to keep unstable plasma in the right shape a powerful magnetic field would be required. To burn through metal and enemies the blade would need about 20 megawatts of power.

It all hinges on that fictional Kyber crystal.

When someone fires their laser at you, it is always handy to be able to turn on your force field.

Although some countries claim to have implemented weapons- grade lasers, no one is close to producing a force field for defence.

One of the hurdles is that any shield made to deflect electromagnetic energy would deflect light, making it impossible for anyone inside the shield to see anything.

Many Star Wars characters take advantage of cybernetics technology to replace various parts of their bodies or even their whole bodies.

Cybernetics is a more deeply embedded and integrated form of prosthetic. It is more part of a body than just an add-on.

Then, of course, there are the two big technologies without which Star Wars would not be possible — interstellar travel and artificial intelligence.

No Millenium Falcon and no C-3PO.

Star Wars is testimony to what humans can imagine. But it seems that our imaginations are more powerful than our inventions.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails