The makers of the recently-Kickstarter-funded Sabertron claim they created their foam sword with electronic scoring to “bring the interactivity of a videogame into the real world.” That’s a noble mission given the ever-present question of how much screen time is too much for your kids, but Sabertron’s truly heroic achievement is that they now have a more accurate (and less expensive) way of keeping score in their swordfights than, “Last one to the ER wins.”
The toy itself is an an “indestructible” polycarbonate core wrapped in a light, tough, easily replaceable foam (because kids always go for the face) attached to an accelerometer that detects impact. It comes in 3 models — Apprentice ($100), Master ($150), and Grandmaster ($220) — with features like illuminated blades, touch screen menu, and bluetooth sync added on as you climb the price ladder. All 3 are sold in pairs, weigh under a pound, and come in lightsaber and medieval styles — so kids can start wailing on each other right out of the box, whether they’re young Jedis, Gladiators, Avengers, whatever.
There are 5 game modes ranging from ‘One Hit To Win,’ which is self-explanatory, up to ‘Hopeless,’ which is probably best left to the hardcore LARPers. (And if you’re wondering what a hardcore LARPer is, look no further than team Sabertron.) Scoring feedback is given by light and sound cues, and wireless communication between swords determines whether you’ve been blocked or Ned Starked your opponent into oblivion — all of which is much more entertaining in the backyard than on the couch.