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Breakthrough Brings Star Trek Transporter Closer 503

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the scott-me-up-beamy dept.
japerr writes to mention The Independant is reporting that a new breakthrough may bring scientists one step closer to a Star Trek style transporter. " A team of physicists has teleported data over a distance of 89 miles from the Canary Island of La Palma to the neighbouring island of Tenerife, which is 10 times further than the previous attempt at teleportation through free space. The scientists did it by exploiting the "spooky" and virtually unfathomable field of quantum entanglement - when the state of matter rather than matter itself is sent from one place to another. Tiny packets or particles of light, photons, were used to teleport information between telescopes on the two islands. The photons did it by quantum entanglement and scientists hope it will form the basis of a way of sending encrypted data."
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Breakthrough Brings Star Trek Transporter Closer

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  • Bad Summary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zenaku (821866) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:34PM (#19386727)
    It is true that "Star Trek style Transporters" are used to send Data, but it is with a capital "D" and they can send other crew members too.

    Misleading summary. Minus 100 points.
    • by RealGrouchy (943109) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:42PM (#19386913)

      It is true that "Star Trek style Transporters" are used to send Data

      He woke up the next day and told Geordi he didn't think he'd be able to go to the holodeck.

      "Sorry, but I woke up feeling really encrypted"

      - RG>
    • by tukkayoot (528280) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:50PM (#19387067) Homepage
      The article says that quantum entanglement is one of the scientific principles invoked by Star Trek to explain how transporters function, and that may be true as I don't own all of the tech manuals, but my understanding is that the main principle behind transporter operation is the idea that matter-energy conversion is possible (and practical). Same goes for holodecks and replicators.

      What this would seem (at least on the surface) to bring us closer to is the ansible communications technology employed most famously in the Ender's Game series. That is, by utilizing the properties of quantum entanglement, it may be possible to achieve faster-than-light communication. This also has its problems though ... I've read some bits by physicists who claim that such technology is impossible or unlikely to ever be achieved, but I'll admit that I didn't really understand the first thing about their arguments.
      • by hal2814 (725639) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:58PM (#19387181)
        Seems like ansibles would be a bad idea. Sure you could have faster than light communications but at the expense of the Buggers hearing every word of it.
      • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:00PM (#19387207) Journal
        My reaction was, it doesn't matter if you're limited to the speed of light, or if it can provide additional encryption. It still has the benefit that you can send data without using the (limited) electromagnetic spectrum, or laying down lines, both of which are expensive markets to enter.
        • by SEAL (88488) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:05PM (#19387283)
          It still has the benefit that you can send data without using the (limited) electromagnetic spectrum, or laying down lines, both of which are expensive markets to enter. ... because hiring a team of quantum physicists, securing patents, and avoiding becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the NSA is so much cheaper?
        • by ConceptJunkie (24823) * on Monday June 04, 2007 @06:10PM (#19388071) Homepage Journal
          The good news is that you can send unbreakably encrypted messages over long distances instantaneously. The downside is that the people who receive your messages are complaining about President Kucinich's proposed tax legislation and how expensive produce is since California fell into the sea, and all the foreign aid we've given to Mexico because of it, and whether Quebec's Senator is eligible to be the U.S. President because when he was born, it _was_ a foreign country, and they have no idea what the hell your warning about terrorist activity at Kennedy airport is all about.

          • by Hanzie (16075) * on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:35AM (#19392313)
            The above post refers to a PARALLEL UNIVERSE, and is NOT making a political statement. SF writers have long used alternate political situations to show a parallel universe that is very similar to ours, but definetly different.

            The above post deserves to be moderated as +1 humor, since it is the first to bring up the idea of the quantum entanglement communications device accidentally talking to another universe.

            The above post is absolutely not flamebait.

            hanzie.
      • by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:11PM (#19387341)

        my understanding is that the main principle behind transporter operation is the idea that matter-energy conversion is possible (and practical). Same goes for holodecks and replicators

        I own many of the technical manuals, and they go to pains to handwave over this part of it, making a big deal about "Heisenberg compensators" and working through how these machines capture the data (basically every quantum number in the system, in real time, digitally). All of the gear you mention usually has something called a "phase transition coil" that does the complicated job of making the matter non-corporeal. One can assume the mass is turned into energy, the books won't dissuade you from this, but mass into energy isn't a phase transition, and the amount of energy you'd get from the average human mass would destroy the Enterprise several times over.

        The likely explanation a writer, cornered, would give you is that these devices handle matter that is in an as-yet-undiscovered, highly exotic, highly energetic, wavelike, and protean phase of matter, that might as well be energy from our modern-day perspective. In the canon, an object being transported is never referred to as energy, but as "phased matter," which would seem to support this.

        Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going off to sleep with my highly exotic, highly energetic, and as-yet-undiscovered girlfriend.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by syousef (465911)
          Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going off to sleep with my highly exotic, highly energetic, and as-yet-undiscovered girlfriend.

          The infamous undiscovered cun.....no I just can't do it
      • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:12PM (#19387357)
        The ansible communicated by means of two entangled particles. That is impossible by everything that we currently know.

        The type of system they're talking about is where you use entangling to imprint the differences between two particles on a third one. They're fundamentally different and resemble neither the ansible nor star trek transporters.
      • by brunascle (994197) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:23PM (#19387471)

        by utilizing the properties of quantum entanglement, it may be possible to achieve faster-than-light communication
        no, it isnt. this has nothing to do with the speed of light. you cant use quantum entaglement to send data faster than light. no one is trying to.

        if you're trying to send data, you'll still need to send photons (or other particles) from one location to another. when you're talking about quantum entanglement and sending data across distances, what you're doing is taking two photons in the same location and tieing them together, then sending one of the particles across a distance. when it gets there, it's still tied together (unless something screwed it up on the way), but if you try to manipulate your photon then it unties from the other, so you cant use it to send info faster than light.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          but if you try to manipulate your photon then it unties from the other, so you cant use it to send info faster than light.

          Not so; the problem isn't that it untangles, it's that no useful data can be sent FTL. Sure, you can change the state of the particle, and the entangled particle will also change state. But you can't determine the meaning of the changed state unless you have a traditional (read: non-FTL) communication channel to compare results of your analysis.

          Patrick Van Esch explains it much better

  • Teleport? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:34PM (#19386741)
    This sounds like a new form of fiber optics rather than teleportation. No item was physically disassembled and reassembled in another place. Rather they used telescopes to focus light. Perhaps I misinterpreted the article.
  • Accurate headline? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:36PM (#19386765) Homepage
    From TFA, this sounds less like teleportation and more like another extension to the distance quantum cryptography has been successfully sent.
    • Exactly... The thing is, they didn't even send data as per the summary's claim, but rather they observed the same data from two different locations.
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:37PM (#19386775) Homepage
    The only thing spooky about this article is that the editors think data transmission and matter transmission are in any way related.
    • Re:spooky? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brunascle (994197) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:46PM (#19386989)
      ugh. how are they not related? what is matter? how could you possibly distinguish 1 photon from another with equal properties? you cant. there is no difference.

      and "spooky" is a reference to Einstein's phrase "spooky action at a distance"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freakmn (712872)
      That relation is mentioned in the fine article [independent.co.uk] as the headline, so it's not the fault of the Slashdot editors. It does seem that it's more of an encryption method than anything after reading the content of the article.

      On that note, I think that encryption of a transmission of matter in data form is extremely important. Can you imagine what an intercepted transmission of that nature would do? It would bring an entirely new meaning to identity theft. What about in a war situation, if the leader of th
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jerry Coffin (824726)

        It does seem that it's more of an encryption method than anything after reading the content of the article.

        It's not really encryption either -- it's just a way of transmitting some information, and knowing whether anybody else has intercepted the transmission. The relationship to encryption is that it allows you to transmit a key and know that it wasn't intercepted during transmission. Obviously, you only use the key if it wasn't intercepted. If memory serves, it's not immune to a MITM attack though. Thi

    • Re:spooky? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by numbski (515011) * <{numbski} {at} {hksilver.net}> on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:54PM (#19387125) Homepage Journal
      How are they NOT related?

      Let's put it this way - there are two sects in the field of teleportation that I'm aware of right now.

      Sect 1 defines teleportation as the tearing down of matter, converting it into energy, transport that energy, and convert it back into matter.

      Sect 2 defines teleportation as scanning all of the information about an object, transport that INFORMATION to destination, create replica, then tear down the original.

      Star Trek subscribes to version 1, unless of course you're watching a very particular episode. :)

      Anyway, in both cases, you recall hearing the term "pattern buffer" in trek, right? In either case, you have to break Heisenberg's Law (Heisenberg compensator anyone?) about knowing the exact state and location of all particles that make up an object. You store that information, transmit it to the other site, and from that site you either reconstruct the original, or duplicate the original.

      The frightening thing is, I see this program in my head writing an XML document, with trees and braches going something like atom/particle/state, and gzip compress it, then transmit it over the fastest method available, decompress on the other side. Just add matter. :D

      Wow I'm sick. :P
  • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:37PM (#19386783)
    Albert Einstein described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at a distance" and it relies on the fact that two photons can be created in such a way that they behave as a single object, even if they are separated by large distances. In behaving in this way they are acting as a teleportation machine because any changes to one causes similar changes to the other.

    • IANAphysicist, but from what I know about entanglement, the idea is as follows. Particles (photons, electrons, etc.) do not have some values (eg, spin, charge, etc.) defined until they are observed. The fun happens when you have a process which is guaranteed to produce two identical particles, but does not cause the attributes of those particles to take a value. You can separate the two particles, and when one is observed, you have a guarantee that the other will take the same values, even if there hasn't technically been enough time for information to flow from one particle to the other.

      You can't actually transmit information using entanglement. (From my even more limited understanding, in quantum teleportation, the entanglement is used to extract the quantum state of an object and store it in a photon, which is then sent somewhere else using something like fiber.) You don't control the state of the particle when you first observe it; it is completely random. If you actually change one particle, the two particles are said to "decohere" and are no longer entangled.

      Again, I'm just an interested amateur, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Call me dumb... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:37PM (#19386791) Homepage Journal
    But it seems to me that 'transporting' data, whether or not using quantum entanglement, isn't quite the same thing as transporting matter and really brings us no close the 'transporter' technology as seen on Star Trek.

    We can already transport data through space without using quantum entanglement at all -- it's called radio.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by RealGrouchy (943109)

      But it seems to me that 'transporting' data, whether or not using quantum entanglement, isn't quite the same thing as transporting matter and really brings us no close the 'transporter' technology as seen on Star Trek.

      It's actually a far more advanced version of the Star Trek technology.

      Say, for example, that you are in orbit and someone on the surface wants to know what colour shirt a crewman is wearing.

      With the inefficient Star Trek model, you'd have to send the crewman down, wearing the shirt.

      With this

    • by digitalderbs (718388) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:48PM (#19387023)
      Exactly right. The hurdle for teleportation is the conversion of data and energy into matter. In theory, a Star Trek starship could beam crew members over 250 years time using 802.11g. (assuming, of course that a average human being contains exactly 55.8 petabytes worth of data).
      • Didn't one of those books say the tranporter is the least plausible of any of Star Trek's technology? Not only would there be huge amounts of data to transfer, but if you were beaming somebody up you would have to resolve the location of every molecule from hundreds of miles away. It seems like it would be a fountain of youth as well - just replace the old cells with fresh ones.
      • Re:Call me dumb... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by khayman80 (824400) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:15PM (#19387381) Homepage Journal
        Actually, I recently wrote a paper on quantum teleportation, and I was surprised to find that teleporting a human being with current telecom equipment would take longer than the age of the universe.

        There are lots of other problems, though. First of all, they can't even teleport single photons yet. All they can do is teleport a single degree of freedom of a single photon, such as polarization or transverse spatial state. Secondly, scaling the teleportation process up to macroscopic objects would require isolating the object to be teleported from its environment in order to preserve quantum coherence. I imagine vacuum exposure would make this procedure uncomfortable for... you know... living things.

        It should be noted that quantum teleportation is not able to transfer matter or energy from transmitter to receiver. All the protocol can do is transfer the quantum state of a particle (or, in the future, groups of particles) from transmitter to receiver. That doesn't mean that humans can't be teleported, though; the receiver would simply keep a stock of raw materials such as carbon, hydrogen, calcium and oxygen atoms out of which to reconstruct the person.

        For the moment, quantum teleportation bears little resemblance to its sci-fi namesake. It's still useful for sending secure messages because of one bizarre property of teleportation: a teleported state can be sent between points A and B without ever existing between those points. It's also the best way to network quantum computers.

        • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:25PM (#19387489)
          Actually, I recently wrote a paper on quantum teleportation, and I was surprised to find that teleporting a human being with current telecom equipment would take longer than the age of the universe.

          Oh, I dunno. Six thousand years doesn't seem like that long to me.
        • Re:Call me dumb... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by autophile (640621) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:45PM (#19387779)

          It should be noted that quantum teleportation is not able to transfer matter or energy from transmitter to receiver. All the protocol can do is transfer the quantum state of a particle (or, in the future, groups of particles) from transmitter to receiver. That doesn't mean that humans can't be teleported, though; the receiver would simply keep a stock of raw materials such as carbon, hydrogen, calcium and oxygen atoms out of which to reconstruct the person.

          Thanks, but no thanks.

          Proof:

          Scan yourself down to the most fundamental level (regardless of what that is), and build an exact duplicate without destroying the original. Press the start button on the duplicate, assuming instantaneous duplication and starting. Since the original's consciousness has maintained continuity in the original, even if the duplicate is an exact copy of the original's state, it cannot be continuous with the original's state because the duplicate exists at a different location and time. (I considered using "space-time locus", but it's difficult enough talking about this without resort to high-falutin' words :)

          Therefore, the "you" that existed prior to duplication is the "you" of the original, and not the "you" of the duplicate. "You" suddenly don't perceive two different realities, one from the POV of the original, and one from the POV of the duplicate.

          The conclusion is that if someone destroyes the original, "you" die. Really die. The duplicate may have all your memories and skills, and will think it is the original, but it is not.

          Really, the only way teleportation (or brain-to-computer transference) could work is if each individual part (for some definition of "part") were duplicated, placed in sync with the original, and then the original part destroyed. Since consciousness consists of the whole and not the parts (assuming we're not going to invoke the supernatural), the consciousness remains continuous with only one instantiation at any one time.

          I've given this some thought, since I hope to download in 2045 :)

          --Rob

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by khayman80 (824400)
            Actually, quantum teleportation destroys the original state in the act of teleporting it. This is required by the no-cloning theorem of quantum information.

            On the other hand, the rest of your post makes very little sense to me. As long as the teleportation process is carried out at sufficient resolution to capture all the relevant details of my consciousness, and I emerge on the receiver pad with all my memories and personality, I don't understand how it could be anything but successful. If you're refe

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by suv4x4 (956391)
            Really, the only way teleportation (or brain-to-computer transference) could work is if each individual part (for some definition of "part") were duplicated, placed in sync with the original, and then the original part destroyed. Since consciousness consists of the whole and not the parts (assuming we're not going to invoke the supernatural), the consciousness remains continuous with only one instantiation at any one time.

            Probably, but consider this: can you really prove your consciousness remains continuou
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      It seems like every couple weeks, someone else writes an article or reads on article on this sort of teleportation and posts it all over the Internet. "Omigawd, we are SOOOO close to having Star Trek transporters!!!"

      And then everyone has to explain, "No, we really aren't." This really doesn't bring us any closer to being able to break material objects down to nothing (effectively) and simultaneously rebuild them perfectly at a far-away location.

      Could we all just stop this now? This article doesn't have

  • We can beam William Shatner's ashes out into space without making a mess on the ground.
  • IndependEnt! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by badasscat (563442)
    The Independant

    Ugh... it's "The Independent". Now we can't even copy the names of publications correctly without misspelling them, even when there is a giant logo with the correct spelling right in front of us and numerous other text versions on the page? It's called highlight/ctrl-c, people!

    The whole ent/ant thing is there/their/they're for this decade, and obviously a pet peeve of mine. Get it through your heads; there's no such thing as an "independant". An independent is not something you wear aroun
  • by XiX36 (715429)
    than star trek, sounds more like an ansible than a transporter, though i suppose that ender's game is not as well known as star trek.
  • IANAP.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retro128 (318602) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:40PM (#19386861)
    and I don't understand quantum entanglement very well. So I was wondering - Is it possible that something like this can enable faster-than-light communications?
    • Re:IANAP.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by lilomar (1072448) <lilomar2525@gmail.com> on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:47PM (#19387007) Homepage
      No. At least, not according to this article [darkermatter.com] in the last issue of Darkermatter [darkermatter.com].

      So could these entangled particles be used for superluminal communications? To achieve this we would need to create two or more identical (or cloned) particles and then separate them physically from each other. Then if we were to act on one of the particles, an observer of the second should be able to detect an effect. Then introducing a code (such as Morse Code) would mean we should be able to communicate at greater than the speed of light.

      Such a thing is unfortunately impossible. In 1982 physicists Bill Wootters, Wojciech H. Zurek and Dennis Dieks introduced the No Cloning Theorem. This theorem states that it is impossible to create an identical copy of an arbitrary unknown quantum state. As cloning is a requirement of using these entangled particles for superluminal communication, we have to rule this method out.
      • Re:IANAP.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by khayman80 (824400) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:34PM (#19387637) Homepage Journal
        I am a physicist, and I don't understand the connection between the no-cloning theorem and using entanglement for FTL communication.

        Think of entanglement this way: you've got two particles, each of them in a superposition of two states (horizontal and vertical polarization, for example). The "spookiness" of entanglement lies in the fact that the particles are created in a state where (for example) they have to have opposite polarizations. Thus even though each particle is in a (literally unknowable) superposition of horizontal and vertical, when you measure the first particle and find that it's horizontally polarized, that automatically means that a measurement on the second particle will show that it's vertically polarized. This occurs even if the second measurement is made a millisecond after the first measurement, and the two particles are on opposite sides of the galaxy.

        At first glance, this is remarkable. At second glance, it's just conservation of momentum: say the two particles are created from another particle with angular momentum=0. Then the sum of the two angular momentums needs to be 0, so their polarizations must be opposite. The "spookiness" Einstein referred to lies in the fact that quantum mechanics says that both particles are literally horizontally AND vertically polarized, up until the point where the first one is "collapsed" onto horizontal (or vertical). Then all of a sudden the states of both particles are well defined, which occurs even if both particles are separated by a great distance. Einstein took this spookiness to mean that quantum mechanics must be incomplete (namely, that each particle DID have a well defined state that quantum mechanics simply can't describe), but 30 years later a physicist named Bell found a way to experimentally test the issue using "Bell inequalities". Quantum mechanics predicted the outcome of these experiments (google Aspect experiments in the 1980s) up to very high sigma values.

        The problem with using these correlations for superluminal correlations is that each measurement just gives you a random horizontal or vertical outcome. The only interesting facet of these measurements is that, when you meet up with the guy who has the other entangled particles (at sublight speed), you find that your answers correlate perfectly. This isn't useful for communication! The only way that it could be used for communication is if quantum mechanics has small nonlinear terms which would allow one party to "bias" his collapse preferentially onto horizontal or vertical. Unfortunately, decades of testing have shown that any nonlinearities in the Schrodinger or Dirac equations underlying quantum mechanics are very, VERY small.

        Bummer. On the other hand, FTL communication automatically implies backwards-in-time communication (and thus travel) so at least we don't have to worry so much about being killed by our own grandchildren.

    • by ObjetDart (700355)
      and I don't understand quantum entanglement very well. So I was wondering - Is it possible that something like this can enable faster-than-light communications?

      IANAP either, but I am an internet user! From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spooky_action [wikipedia.org]:

      "Observations on entangled states naively appear to conflict with the property of relativity that information cannot be transferred faster than the speed of light. Although two entangled systems appear to interact across large spatial separations, no useful

    • by Hangin10 (704729)
      No. I forget if Einstein himself proved that entanglement can't be used for communication or if it was proved later on. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry on it. The reasons why confused the hell out of me, but you'll probably have better luck. As I remember it had something to with causality and never knowing whether you're receiving a message or gibberish quantum results, and the whole once you measure it, you've changed it and therefore also the other person's particle and then they can't even send the m
      • IIRC it was John Bell. He was the one who disproved the hidden variable theories. This was after Einstein had died, in the 60's.
    • by brunascle (994197)
      from what i've learned, the entangled photons are connected in sort of an instantaneous, faster-than-light way, but you cant send information because you cant manipulate one and affect the other. if you try to manipulate one, it loses its connection.

      i could be wrong, or over simplifying it, but that's how i understand it.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:40PM (#19386865)
    A lovely headline, but the only practical application of this form of "teleportation" is cryptography (you could have some pretty damn unbreakable keys with this). Even if you could "teleport" any significant amount of matter, it would be many, many, many orders of magnitude more challenging than this and you would have to get past some pretty significant hurdles (Heisenberg being one of the least of your problems).
  • This is less like the Star Trek Transporter, and more like the ansible, which functioned via philotic twining (which as far as I can tell is quantum entanglement by a different name) from Ender's Game. TFA also mentions that the Transporters were said to have used quantum entanglement. I don't remember that at all. Is it from the newer stuff? As far as I knew the way they worked was the computer would store all information about the object, using the ever so convenient Heisenberg Compensator, then use t
    • philotic twinning went far deeper than entanglement. If remember it also created that basis for a soul or a consciousness that could be passed from body to body or connect a hive together, or allow someone to create them self based on a mental image of them self.
  • by DarthStrydre (685032) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:43PM (#19386935)
    LORA - Well, here goes nothing ...

    GIBBS - Hah. Interesting, interesting. You hear what you said? "Here goes nothing."

    LORA - Well, I meant -

    GIBBS - Whereas actually, what we propose to do is to turn something into nothing and back again. So you might just as well have said, "Here goes something and here comes nothing." Hah!
  • Transmitting photons has nothing to do with transporters. It doesn't exceed speed of light or go through any opaque materials like starship hulls. But most importantly, it doesn't address the little problem of moving non-light particles or else assembling the exact copy at the destination.

    Basically this is no different than sending a file over a fiber optic link, except that you get some additional hardware-based security.
  • Tiny packets or particles of light, photons, were used to teleport information between telescopes on the two islands. The photons did it by quantum entanglement and scientists hope it will form the basis of a way of sending encrypted data."

    Paul Revere signalled using tiny packets of particles of light called photons, too.

    First Paragraph: Quantum teleportation across the Danube [nature.com]

    But of course you have to pay.

    Without being able to read the actual paper (when oh when are we going to see researchers publishin

  • Think of what this means for a moment: a high-bandwidth router capable of sending a fat data stream anywhere in the world instantaneously, a stream that nobody could jam, spy on, or even detect. This would be the worst nightmare of intelligence services everywhere, and there is just no way they'd let this technology get loose.

    In fact, it's potentially so dangerous and disruptive, I'd venture to say that even the military would be denied access to it, since it would quickly escape into the wild. Of course, N
  • A team of physicists has teleported data over a distance of 89 miles

    Wake me up when they teleport Lore too.

  • What are the other styles of transporter that's available now?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    TFA mixed up both the author's name and the journal this work was published in. The author's real name is Rupert Ursin (not Robert), and the article was published in Nature Physics Online, not Nature Physics (those are separate journals). The article itself is available here [univie.ac.at] as a pdf.
  • Walter: A laser dismantles the molecular structure of the object and the molecules remain suspended in the laser beam. Then when the computer lays out the model the molecules fall back into place and... voilà!

    Alan: Great! Can it send me to Hawaii?
  • by mbadolato (105588) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:58PM (#19387187)
    Perhaps it will some day be technologically possible, but it won't ever happen in reality. Scott Adams (Dilbert) said it perfectly:

    It would be great to be able to beam your molecules across space and then reassemble them. The only problem is that you have to trust your co-worker to operate the transporter. These are the same people who won't add paper to the photocopier or make a new pot of coffee after taking the last drop. I don't think they'll be double-checking the transporter coordinates. They'll be accidentally beaming people into walls, pets, and furniture. People will spend all their time apologizing for having inanimate objects protruding from parts of their bodies.

    'Pay no attention to the knickknacks; I got beamed into a hutch yesterday.'
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bullet-Dodger (630107)
      I teleported home one night
      With Ron and Sid and Meg.
      Ron stole Meggie's heart away
      And I got Sidney's leg.

      -Douglas Adams
  • by javabandit (464204) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:59PM (#19387921)
    First off, I've never slammed an article headline in all the time I've been here at Slashdot, but I'm doing it now. How in the hell is transmitting data even remotely a step in the direction of transmitting matter? Puhleeze. A step closer to teleporting matter would be to vaporize a small animal and then "shoot" the particles 89 miles away -- perhaps.

    Secondly, as others have posted, it ain't gonna happen. Teleporting matter by breaking it down and reconstructing it on the other end ain't going to happen. There are so many holes in that approach that its not funny.

    I read a couple of interesting magazine articles on teleportation, and the key to teleportation is really time travel. Teleportation would be sending someone on a time-ride, bending the space-time continuum, have them "arrive" at the exact physical destination but still in the same temporal location in which they left. That is the key. However, the big problem with this approach is that the matter being transported will still age the amount of time is took the "time ride" to occur. Still, any teleportation is a feat the will probably never be accomplished.

    But let me go on record as saying that rather than for science to focus focusing on teleportation or time travel seems moronic. How about we just focus on building some kind of high-speed passenger transport mechanism that travels at supersonic speeds (something like Mach 3 or Mach 4)?

    Personally, I'd be just fine if I could go from Los Angeles to New York in one hour. And that seems like a much more achievable goal.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Monday June 04, 2007 @06:06PM (#19388013) Homepage
    Derek Parfit [wikipedia.org] is an interesting philosopher who's done a lot of work on personal identity just by examining various Star Trek transporter scenarios (like what if you're reconstructed at the other end but don't disappear at the start).
  • by purpleraison (1042004) on Monday June 04, 2007 @06:35PM (#19388381) Homepage Journal
    I was reading one of Dr. Hawkings writings, and he specifically addressed this issue, and described very nicely what some of the possibilities were, should this kind of technology ever become reality.

    One of the interesting ideas is that since you would have every possible particle of information about an object, or person -- that you would not only be able to transport things, but also duplicate them much in the same fashion that a computer can copy and duplicate files.

    Spooky..
  • by Macka (9388) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:03PM (#19388721)

    Why does everyone get so hung up with transportation of matter, when data is so much more exciting and more relevant to the world we live in.

    What I want to see is the first two-way transmitter/receiver that works via quantum entanglement. Instant communication over any distance!

    Just imagine the possibilities -- real time communication with probes throughout the solar system, or even further. Eventually it might be possible to have a mobile phone that works anywhere in the world, without the need for a satellite network and with no signal blind spots. Countries could increase their backbone bandwidth without the need for more fibre cables. TV and Music could be broadcast from anywhere, to anywhere in real time. I'm sure you can think of hundreds of other applications for this.

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