Sabertron are foam swords with electronic scoring – they know if you score a hit on a body or have been blocked by another sword. That’s clever stuff.
I have a sword-obsessed child who has a variety of pocket-money-sourced swords ranging from a swimming noodle cut in half, to realistic LARP swords, to a big metal one he’s not allowed to wave at anyone. Whenever he and his friends, or worse his brother, spar with any of these it inevitably leads to arguments about who hit who and when. That’s why I like the Sabertron idea :
With Sabertron, swordsmen & swordswomen will be able to have sword fights with swords that keep score electronically, without any additional equipment. A series of LED strips integrated into the front and back of the handle keep track of player health. A sword-to-sword hit doesn’t decrement health. A hit to the body of an opponent results in a loss of health until a fighter wins the duel.
How do they achieve this feat? Well apparently it’s accomplished through “extraordinarily complicated scientific engineering type stuff”. More particularly, “Sabertron employs an accelerometer to detect when the sword has impacted another object. Wireless communication allows the swords to distinguish between the impact of another sword, versus another player.”
The makers also have plans to add shields and armour to the mix as time goes by.
Now it has to be said that these things are more expensive than cutting a swimming noodle from the two-dollar-shop in half. They are available through a Kickstarter campaign, which is already funded, and you’re looking at $100 and upwards for a pair of swords – not cheap but certainly comparable to a pair of Nerf guns for example.
As the Sabertron people put it, this is “Swordplay without the death thing”. The system of “dead / not dead” to keep score “has enjoyed widespread use among swordsmen; it is simple, it is reliable – it cannot however be played multiple times”. Which is why you have to think that everyone from fencers to LARP people will love these. For me, though, the really appealing thing is “Swordplay without the sibling argument thing.”