Mr. V.T. sent me this one, and if the U.K.'s The Guardian is reporting this story accurately, there's been another quiet little breakthrough on the road to real teleportation of objects via 3-d printing (or additive manufacturing as it is also known). Only this time, the breakthrough is a real "whopper doozie":

Beam me up Scotty: German scientists invent working teleporter, of sorts

"Scientists from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam have invented a real-life teleporter system that can scan in an object and “beam it” to another location.

"Not quite the dematerialisation and reconstruction of science fiction, the system relies on destructive scanning and 3D printing.

"An object at one end of the system is milled down layer-by-layer, creating a scan per layer which is then transmitted through an encrypted communication to a 3D printer. The printer then replicates the original object layer by layer, effectively teleporting an object from one place to another.

“We present a simple self-contained appliance that allows relocating inanimate physical objects across distance,” said the six person team in a paper submitted for the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference at Stanford University. “Users place an object into the sender unit, enter the address of a receiver unit, and press the relocate button.”

"The system dubbed “Scotty” in homage to the Enterprise’s much beleaguered chief engineer, differs from previous systems that merely copy physical object as its layer-by-layer deconstruction and encrypted transmission ensures that only one copy of the object exists at any one time, according to the scientists."(Emphases added)

While 3-d printing has been advancing by leaps and bounds, to the point that there are now even "3d scanners" that scan an object, allowing it to be replicated in a 3d printing, this new technique is another small but significant step to the "Star Trek" transported, in that, as the article indicates, the object is not scanned (a process which inevitably introduces "errors" into the copy), but actually "milled down" or taken apart layer by layer, and reassembled, layer by layer, at the receiving end. Add the ability to scan the materials composition of an object as it is being "milled down", transmit that data along with the physical dimensions of the object, and one has a simple sort of de facto transporter.

The Star Trek transporter, of course, took this to the ultimate degree, for the transported scanned an object (or person), broke it (or him or her) down to their constituent molecules, atoms, and particles, beamed these through space, and reassembled the whole thing at the other end. In other words, it was a real transporter. Milling an object down is a far cry, one is tempted to say, from that kind of capability. After all, we're nowhere near being able to scan something at that minute atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule level, much less, reassemble it.

Except... one would do well to recall that in Eric Drexler's now classic study of the emerging field of nanotechnology, Engines of Creation, published in 1986, he mentioned that IBM had successfully given a stunning display of the ability of engineers, even then, to engineer things on an extraordinarily small scale, by spelling out the corporate logo using a small number of xenon atoms, and that AT&T's Bell Laboratories had gone one better, by constructing humanity's first artificially created atom. It is now almost 29 years later, and one wonders just what such techniques, in conjunction with 3D printing, might have already been covertly accomplished, but if it's anything even close to being able to disassemble your favorite coffee cup and beam it to the hotel you're staying at on your vacation, then a transportation, energy, manufacturing, and financial revolution will inevitably follow.
See you on the flip side.

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. ShiningBrow on February 5, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    If it’s about sending *data* from origin to receiving end, what stops there being multiple copies of an object(person??) by saving the data, and re-sending later? And, hence, the ‘replicators’ of Star Trek.

    “Tea – Earl Grey – hot” 🙂

  2. marcos toledo on February 5, 2015 at 10:01 am

    This would be handy in teleporting parts and equipment long distance and during emergencies. As for living creatures a vehicle or walking would be safer way of transportation. Though given the Ben Rich rule who knows if they smooth over all the bugs yet. Beam me up Scotty.

  3. moxie on February 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

    3D printing in conjunction with THAT unconventional physics..and in the quantum realm? In that world, eureka is a quantum understatement

  4. Robert Barricklow on February 5, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I’m with you on this one.
    Transporting a “being” is a whole different game,
    in a whole different ball park.

  5. Lost on February 5, 2015 at 8:29 am

    3D scanners have been around for decades.

    I’m sure the resolution has been increasing, and of course the amount of data recorded would have radically increased in the last 10 years.

  6. Cassandane on February 5, 2015 at 7:50 am

    I’m with Dr McCoy. Given how twitchy most technology is – cellphones that insist you’re miles from where you are, idiot desktop computers that crash on a regular basis, refrigerators/washing machines that malfunction shortly after you buy them, cars that won’t start because their onboard computer has gone topsy-turvy – it will be a cold day in hell before I risk my life in a transporter. People never seem to question how reliable these machines are and never consider dumping them for a more reliable way of doing things…the old reliable way. I have no desire to be “milled down” to my constituent parts just to travel somewhere. It’s likely transporters will only work once we’re all soulless bionic anamatrons.

  7. WalkingDead on February 5, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Teleportation of inanimate objects is one thing, teleportation of the conscience/soul of an individual is quite another. How do you teleport something we can’t even define or understand yet. There is more to humanity than the sum of our physical parts.
    There are always transmission losses and often errors in data transmission over long distances, until these are solved, I’ll take the train/plane…

    • sagat1 on February 5, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Well said. I can’t see how you could teleport someones memories, conscience and soul.

    • moxie on February 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      IF memory is nonlocal and certain particles can exist in multiple locations, who’s to say it can’t be done? I think the ancients have done it but not exactly in the way we think- that is we always associate machines and whatnot to something high tech., or I guess they were just advanced in their very being that it’s something we cannot imagine or comprehend today

    • Guygrr on February 7, 2015 at 5:06 am

      Exactly. I can see them running into problems with the teleportation of beings. If for example the physical parts are transferred but the soul is lost in the process, it would seem to me that whatever comes out on the receiving end would be ripe for possession/hijacking by another entity. Not to mention a person’s, at the very least physical essence, would be uploaded onto the network providing Legion and it’s controllers with even more “metadata” for exploitation at a later date.

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