Sabertron Smashes Kickstarter Funding Goal as World Prepares For Foam Swords with Electronic Scoring

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The crowdfunding campaign that asks “How is this not a thing yet?” has inspired swordplay-hungry backers to answer the call.

LevelUp, Inc.’s Kickstarter campaign for “Sabertron: Foam Swords with Electronic Scoring” has successfully surpassed its $50,000 funding goal less than one week after it launched, fulfilling the swordplay dreams of backers who can now expect these groundbreaking high-tech toys to be delivered in time for the holidays.

Sabertron is the brainchild of Austin, TX-based product engineer David Lynch, who was inspired to give his sons a compelling alternative to spending endless hours on the couch playing video games. His solution was to make lightweight, soft-touch foam swords combined with technology typically found in smartphones. This enabled the swords themselves to differentiate between successful hits and defensive blocks while keeping score in real time with LED health meter displays on the handle. The result raises the game far, far beyond the usual sticks and cardboard tubes we grew up with.

Together with fellow engineers Tim Reichard and Joe Mandy, Lynch formed LevelUp, Inc. to develop Sabertron as the first of many connected toy concepts. “The (smartphone) sensors are now cheap,” said Lynch, “but no one’s taken them and asked ‘What can we do with these? What new games are possible when toys can talk to each other?’ Thanks to our Kickstarter backers, LevelUp is now ready to take interactive gaming off the screens and into the real world.”

LevelUp actually tried an earlier Kickstarter campaign for Sabertron back in February 2014, but despite receiving glowing notice from the likes of Engadget (“A foam lightsaber game that finally proves who’s got the most midi-chlorians”), TechCrunch (“Your larping will be improved tenfold by these exciting swords”), and enthusiastic backers (“Life… just got cooler”), that campaign failed to reach its funding goal, and no money was received. Undeterred, David rallied his team to apply valuable learnings from the Kickstarter community, updating their prototypes and preparing to launch this latest effort with a lower funding goal and improved campaign content.

For example, there’s the current campaign’s distinctive video, which has been described as a “70s grindhouse and educational video mash-up.”

Having now eclipsed its crowdfunding goal with 24 days left to go before the June 14 close date, LevelUp plans to continue campaigning for more funds. Stretch goals like connected shields and a multiplayer “Melee Mode” are in the works, as is their larger mission to bring video games and action sports together to create a whole new gaming galaxy. Independent tech news, reviews and analysis website Re/code believes Sabertron is the beginning of something big: “This is just the very tip of an Everest-sized iceberg that this tech can lead to.”

The Sabertron swords come in two style options—Lightsword and Medieval—and feature “Five Ways to Slay,” otherwise known as game modes offering different ways to count the “damage” recorded by the swords during play. With “Countdown” mode, for example, three body blows result in a win, while “Eternal Struggle” mode rewards successful defense by restoring health, creating the potential for extended battles. All game modes are described on the Kickstarter campaign page along with premium sword upgrades like illuminated blades, touchscreen controls, and Bluetooth connectivity for syncing swordplay stats with a dedicated smartphone app.

The swords are designed to be high-end toys for children and adults, utilizing quality-finished materials and high-strength polycarbonate core construction to make them as light as possible yet tough enough for Live Action Role Play (LARP) gamers to engage with. Through the Kickstarter campaign, entry-level “Apprentice” swords are available at the $99 pledge level, while a signed poster featuring the LevelUp team can be had for $25.

The poster shows a scene from the project video with Lynch standing triumphantly over Reichard and Mandy, foam sword pointed to the sky. Poster copy reads: “Foam Swords. Electronic Scoring. How is this not a thing yet?” Thanks to Sabertron’s recent success on Kickstarter, we’ll no longer have to ask that question.

For further information about Sabertron and LevelUp, Inc., contact Sabertron at

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David Lynch
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