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    Almost a Lightsaber, Nearly a Tricorder: 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' Are Sort of Reality

    Written by

    Ben Richmond

    Contributing Editor

    Not long ago getting caught with a lightsaber on Youtube could ruin your life, but this self-proclaimed “DIY Laser Guy” has no reason to be embarrassed. He has brought the lightsaber to life, sort of.

    Well, maybe it isn’t quite a lightsaber, per se—it’s not like you could fence someone who had another (possibly red) one. Functionally it more resembles James Bond’s the laser watch from the old Goldeneye game, so fanatical devotees are better off going with the Wicked Lasers LaserSaber.

    According to the Wicked Laser website, the LaserSaber was so similar that George Lucas attempted to sue them over it. At any rate, the video is much more obnoxious, to the point that it runs the risk of making the concept of "real-life lightsabers" seem sort of stupid:

    So there you have it, Obi-Wan put the blast shield down not just to teach Luke to feel the Force, but also because he didn't have any "laser shades" nearby, and he didn't want Luke to suffer retinal damage.

    But not everything coming from science fiction into real life is all about propagating blindness! There's actually a pragmatic upside to some of it.

    Reality looks even more futuristic than this, if you can believe it. Photo via.

    Not to be outdone by Wars, the Star Trek Tricorder has crossed from fiction to reality under the name Scanadu Scout. The Scout most closely resembles the Tricorder’s bio-scanning function; it sends a read-out of one’s vital signs to a smart phone after just being pressed to the temple for ten seconds. It looks way more advanced than its Star Trek ancestors, and isn't much bigger than a make-up compact:

    Via Scanadu's website.

    Whether driven by Trekkies, technophiles or real-life Dr. Boones who see the advantage of getting a pulse, temperature, oxygen levels quickly and at once, the Scout has blown past its crowdsourcing goals on IndieGoGo, and is seeking FDA approval at warp speeds soon. The FDA has expressed interest in giving their approval on monitoring devices that work in tandem with smart phones. Along with lasers being used to treat wounds, it's clear that engineers who design medical equipment are more inclined to Live Long and Prosper.

    So if you're scoring at home, we're up to flying cars, laser lighters, species coming back from extinction and Tricorders, and just as much dystopia coming up from the other side. Be brave; the world is new, if still fairly familiar.