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We've seen it happen a lot in relation to opening doors, tampering with locks and pushing switches. All these can be explained by telekinesis.

How is it that the Force is used to interact with holographic displays?

Example from Star Wars Rebels (possible minor spoiler):

The most recent example I've seen is when Ezra Bridger uses the Force to search through a list of prison escapees in order to find his parents. He may well just use the list as some metaphysical reference, but the display actually updates as he searches... How?

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    Do you have a clip which shows the interaction? Perhaps he was using the force to manipulate the buttons which non-force users would otherwise use?
    – Longshanks
    Feb 26, 2017 at 13:44
  • Managed to find the scene, although it is picture-in-picture unfortunately. youtu.be/smiV0EJF00I?t=5m13s
    – Jack
    Feb 26, 2017 at 15:41
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    I thought he was just scrolling really fast and trusting his instincts to stop when he should, and not using the Force to directly operate digital data
    – Petersaber
    Feb 26, 2017 at 19:27
  • It's certainly possible. He does shout STOP all of a sudden though which would be rather redundant if he was the one controlling the interface and not either the Force or someone else.
    – Jack
    Feb 26, 2017 at 19:55
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    Don't forget the most force sensitive being to ever exist! R2-D2! slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=108257&cid=9203696
    – RichS
    Feb 26, 2017 at 22:15

1 Answer 1

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Theoretically when Ezra is searching through the list, he could be manipulating the data through energy. We've seen energy manipulation through the force several times in both canon and legends material. Vader absorbed the energy from blaster bolts in The Empire Strikes back, Palpatine created force lightning, and Satale Shan stopped a lightsaber with her bare hand in that one The Old Republic trailer.

To break it down a little more specifically: When you press the down arrow on your keyboard a signal is sent to the computer. The computer interprets that signal and converts it into an instruction to move the list down. That is then displayed on your monitor. What Ezra could be doing is using the force to create an energy signal within the computer, bypassing the need to use the keyboard. His force signal instructs the computer to move through the list until the force told him to stop when he found what he was looking for.

I don't remember where, but I think one of the tabletop roleplaying games (possibly the old West End Games version) had computer manipulation through the force for Jedi characters. It's possible they just canonized that aspect of the force.

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    I didn't think to bridge the gap between Vader's absorption and even Kylo Ren's more recent manipulation of blaster bolts mid-flight. While I think it is a fairly reasonable explanation, I feel like the nuance is still missing. Blocking or freezing a bolt of energy is one thing, but interacting with a computer system would surely require more precision and perhaps even knowledge of the device's internals?! Still, this did prompt me to find this on Wookieepedia starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Electronic_Manipulation. Not sure if this is canon though.
    – Jack
    Feb 26, 2017 at 20:01
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    That's exactly the power I was thinking of, thanks for finding it. We have seen Ezra showing some mechanical ability, especially early in the series, so it isn't too much of a stretch to think he would have at least a basic understanding of computers work. I do agree on your point about possibly needing more precision. I think Kylo Ren's ability was pretty much a brute force display of power. Something like what I suggested would probably need a bit more finesse.
    – Alchemus
    Feb 26, 2017 at 23:42
  • one note - blaster bolts are plasma, not purely electrical or 'light' (laser) energy
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 27, 2017 at 15:34
  • It's true that a blaster fires plasma and not lasers, but plasma is basically just a gas super heated to the point that it has become a form of energy. For example, we generally think of lightning as being a form of electricity. Really the lightning bolt we see in the sky is a stream of partially ionised plasma. The oxygen and other atmospheric gasses being the ones that have been super heated.
    – Alchemus
    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:17

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