We all want a lightsaber. It’s a fact. Anybody who claims they don’t want a lightsaber is just lying. But sadly, lightsabers are currently fictional, albeit still awesome. Fortunately, scientists want lightsabers just as much as we do, and they’re hard at work building them for all of us. But the military gets first dibs, which is why the Air Force has created the TEC Torch. We hope that this torch this will be sitting in your tool shed alongside your best torque wrench soon.


The TEC Torch does actually have a few useful purposes. It’s a “thermal breaching tool,” which is a fancy way of saying it gets really, really hot. In fact, it’s tiny for something that gets up to 5000 degrees Fahrenheit: The handle and the cartridge each weighs a pound. It’s designed to do a simple job, really; destroy anything made out of stuff that will melt. The idea is to melt locks, destroy doors, and otherwise get through things that you’re not supposed to get through.

Read: Star Wars Lightsaber

In of itself, it’s actually a pretty neat solution (and a neat gadget) to a serious battlefield problem. As you may have gathered, terrorists tend to want to try to lock out American forces. This will let soldiers chew through anything in their way, and make working in the field safer for all involved.

Fire It Up

The TEC Torch in action.
An Air Force member uses the TEC Torch on a door.

Granted, there are a few problems with this “lightsaber.” First of all, it’s more of a light-dagger; as you might have guessed, it cranks out a fairly short flame. It also doesn’t last long enough to discuss your disappointment with your former apprentice; the cartridge goes dry after two seconds of use. But, hey, it’s early days in lightsaber engineering, and we still have an actual use for this tool. Star Wars made it clear we’d have cheap interstellar travel before we had lightsabers, so we’ve got a while yet.

Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.

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