I got to wondering about how a saber could be rigged up to detect how far along the blade contact with a hard surface such as another blade is made. The application would be that if you know where two blades are contacting each other, you could add effects at that location using a pixel blade. Specifically, turn the blade white, and maybe boost the output for 6 inches on either side of the impact point.
My first thought was to add an accelerometer to the back of each neopixel in the blade. While I’m sure that would work, the cheapest accelerometers I could find on Mouser are on the order of $0.70 a piece, so * 144 * 2 you’re looking at over $200 additional cost for the blade. Might be worth it for disney, but not for most folks, I bet.
What other mechanisms might be usable to detect impacts, blade deformations, etc? Maybe some kind of optical effect that can be measured with lasers when the blade tube changes shape significantly? Pressure sensors? Transparent piezo elements on the inside of the blade? What do you guys think?