Technology
Sabertron lets the foam be with you with illuminated scored swordplay

editors-choiceThe Premise. You may have seen them dressed up like knights or monsters, waging epic battles in your local city park. For years, foam combat enthusiasts and LARPers have been getting together for sparring, but have mostly had to rely on the honor system to determine a winner until now.

The Product.  LevelUp’s Sabertron is a foam sword combat game that is looking to bring 21st century innovation to 16th combat. Beneath the humble foam exterior is a polycarbonate plastic core housing an accelerometer to detect hits, LEDs to display player damage, and a speaker to output the sounds of combat. Five different game types are available and sensitivity settings can be adjusted by the players to even the fight.

The Pitch. The campaign video explains the technology behind the game while backdropped by demonstrations and battles. It also introduces the basic game rules, lay out planned expansion for the line (including body armor and helmets that will open the game up to be played on more than a one-on-one level), and project lead David Lynch explains the project’s genesis. There are also plenty of photos that range from scrapped prototype ideas to future possibilities, a look at the technology inside each sword, and a companion Web site already developed. LevelUp is looking to raise $195,000, which will help it finalize a market-ready design, conduct safety testing, and get the swords ready for store sale. If the project reaches $400,000, the stretch goals decree that the faux swords will be equipped with a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be charged via MicroUSB.

The Perks. At $99, backers will get a pair of Sabertron swords. The pre-release batch set to ship in August 2014 is already sold out, but backers can still pledge the same amount to get a pair of the medieval-style swords delivered by September. Sci-fi fans can get a pair of illuminated swords in the color of their choice for $125, while a model where colors can be changed on the fly is priced at $199 for a pair.

The Potential. Sabertron is designed to bring laser tag-style uniformity and gamesmanship to foam combat sports. While weekend wizards and warriors might be reluctant to give up the DIY craftsmanship they’ve practiced for so long, this would be a great way to interest new people to try out their various games. Sold in toy stores, this could easily become a high-ticket must-have item for this year’s holiday season.

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