NEWS: Project JEDI, incubated at the Olin College of Engineering, unveils first fully extending and retracting DIY Lightsaber

July 2, 2024 

In the midst of Hollywood’s blockbuster season, Olin College of Engineering graduate and HeroTech founder Jacob Uy ’24 has cracked the code on a fully extending and retracting lightsaber.

Branded “Project JEDI,” Uy partnered with fellow Olin students Madie Tong '25 and Aaron Codrington '25 to produce a prototype of the fictional weapon from Star Wars mythology. The YouTube video of its development process has captured the imagination of Star Wars fans and DIY engineering enthusiasts around the globe.

Hero Tech Team picture with lightsaber - Aaron, Madie, and Jacob (left to right)

Team image with their project, Project JEDI. Pictured from left to right: Aaron Codrington '25, Madie Tong '25 and Jacob Uy ’24.

The secret behind the Lightsaber’s construction: a flexible 12 V LED strip, motors, and a magician’s cane. The cane is made of a flexible material that springs out once you release a pin and contracts down to a size so small it can fit in your hand

Uy founded HeroTech as a high school student in Singapore with a single goal: to engineer gadgets that give people abilities and powers from science fiction. He was then able to continue growing his startup at Olin through classes like Principles of Integrated Engineering and Tech Venture Capstone and by utilizing the campus’ labs, workshops, and project spaces. Uy happily shares his process on social media, along with files, links, and tutorials so that others can do the same. His most popular video garnered 41 million views.

“When people see science fiction brought to real life, it’s inspiring. And when people can do it themselves, it’s empowering, “ says Jacob Uy, Olin Class of 2024 and founder of HeroTech. “We’re on a mission to inspire and empower people: we’re on a mission to prove that anybody, anywhere can become a hero.”

The Star Wars – inspired light sword is not Uy’s first creation. He has developed a variety of functional Spider-Man web shooters and a transparent Iron Man LED display. He’s continuing to work on the lightsaber prototype while other current projects include the "Riptide" pen from Percy Jackson, and a project that emulates the "fire bending" seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender.


About Olin College of Engineering

Founded in 1997, Olin instills passion and ignites innovation in its students and prepares them to envision, create and deliver products, services, and systems that transform and improve people’s lives around the world. Olin teaches students to be explorers and creators who design their own path forward. By challenging norms and sharing its unique approach to education, Olin is revolutionizing the way engineers, and all undergraduates, learn and create knowledge. Located in Needham Massachusetts, Olin is ranked among the top-three undergraduate engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more at Olin.edu.