Star Wars Science: Are You Jedi or Sith?

This is a fun and easy science experiment to do with the kids…

Star Wars Mini Lightsaber: Dark Side Detector

The boys received this cool toy for Christmas when they were in full Star Wars frenzy. After assembling the lightsaber, you can turn on the lightsaber by pressing a button. As the story goes… the colour of your lightsaber blade will depend on whether your force essence is light or dark. If the light side is stronger, your lightsaber will turn blue, and that means you’re a Jedi. If the dark side is stronger, your lightsaber will turn red and you’re Sith.

Typical of boys, they ripped open the packaging and put the lightsaber together without reading the instructions. When they turned on their lightsabers, G1’s turned red and G2’s turned blue. We thought at first that the toys had randomly assigned lightbulbs – that some lightsabers had red bulbs and others had blue. But when the boys swapped lightsabers with each other, G1’s was still red and G2’s was blue.

Not wanting to be associated with the dark, G1 tried all manner of ways to get his to turn blue. Sometimes he succeeded and sometimes he didn’t. In retrospect, it was probably a good thing we hadn’t read the instructions because it was a fun science mystery for us to work out why the lightsabers turned the colours that they did. We worked it out in the end that it had to do with whether our hands were wet or dry when we pressed the button. That evening, G1 was the only one with sweaty hands and that was why his kept turning red.

If you look closely at the lightsaber switch, there is an exposed bit of metal that allows your skin to come in contact with it. The bulb contains two LEDs – one blue and one red. When you press the button, the blue LED comes on, but if you increase the conductivity of the circuit with your sweaty finger (or by wetting your finger with water before pressing the button), it lights up the red LED. If you have sweaty fingers and you want to avoid being detected as Sith, all you have to do is avoid the exposed bit of metal on the switch when you press it.

Sith or Jedi

This lightsaber, in essence, functions similarly to a polygraph. When you lie, you tend to sweat more and that change in skin conductivity is what the polygraph detects. In this case, if you have sweaty hands, you’re Sith. Pretty cool…

More Star Wars Science Fun:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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