“Scotty”, created by German scientists at Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, can scan simple objects and “beam” them to other locations. Technically.
From tablets to transparent aluminum, real-world science seems dead-set on making the inventions of Star Trek a reality, including a few outlandish ones. But the holy grail of Trek tech has to be the transporter, which deconstructs people and objects into energy patterns before beaming them to another location. Now German scientists have invented a method that makes the object transport part possible… kind of.
The teleporter (which naturally, the creators have called Scotty) consists of two container units that can be placed in different locations. When a simple object is placed inside one unit, the machinery grinds it down one layer at a time and scans each into computer memory. This scan data is than sent to the partnered Scotty, which uses a 3D printer to recreate the scanned object. It’s not a pretty process where you can energize the object, and it takes some time to complete (roughly 90 minutes) but it can create general replicas of the object.
I know, I know, I want to cry foul with the rest of you and say this isn’t a Trek transporter. But here’s the thing: It may be primitive, but that’s mostly how they work in the show and movies. Star Trek teleporters don’t actually send people and objects across – they dematerialize and scan them before sending a copy of the data, then delete the original data. That’s why the Star Trek: The Next Generation had two Rikers when the process failed. While the Star Trek process is much quicker, thinking of transporters as elaborate 3D printers isn’t far off.
Still, I think it’s safe to say this transporter is in no way ready for human test subjects. Right, now it’s just a very cool idea that, if improved upon, could allow people to copy objects and send them elsewhere to be reconstructed. Energized or not, that’s pretty cool.