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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old September 6 2008, 01:38 AM   #16
Christopher
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

Wingsley wrote: View Post
I'm not buying this "dumbwaiter" approach.

All those moving parts, all those chances for something to go wrong en route from the "galley" to the destination.
How are the turbolifts any different?

And it took just about five seconds, maybe ten, for Kyle and Nurse Chapel to each access randomly selected food.
As I said, it's likely that certain standardized items are prepared in advance and stored near the food slots for easy delivery.

(Remember, it was the Sergeant's idea to have chicken soup; if it was hand-prepared, how did Sarge know it was on the menu?)
Dude... it's chicken soup. If he'd asked for trout almondine, then you'd have a point. But it's chicken soup. Of course it's going to be on the menu.

And nobody said it was hand-prepared. The Making of ST referred to automated machinery and advanced techniques for instant cooking.

To approach it from the opposite direction... We know that Federation starships use transporter technology and subspace everything, including hand talkies. Why not low-grade ("molecular resolution", to use a Sternback term) replicator/microtransporters?
Because Janeway said in "Flashback" that there were no replicators in the 23rd century. And because if they'd had replicators in TOS, they wouldn't have needed to make fake Thanksgiving turkey out of meat loaf in "Charlie X."
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Old September 6 2008, 02:41 AM   #17
Wingsley
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

Are you suggesting that VOY should be superimposed over TOS?
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Old September 6 2008, 03:40 AM   #18
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Are you suggesting that VOY should be superimposed over TOS?
I don't understand the question. It's all one universe.
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Old September 6 2008, 10:25 PM   #19
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

Even after all of this time it holds together as one universe fairly well.
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Old September 7 2008, 01:27 AM   #20
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

I'm on board for the hard wired transporter for centrally prepared food. This allows the Tribbles to get caught up in the works, and come out alive at the other end.
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Old September 7 2008, 02:06 AM   #21
Wingsley
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

What would be the difference, energy-wise between hard-wired transporters for centrally prepared food, versus crude replicator technology?
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Old September 7 2008, 02:29 AM   #22
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

UssGlenn wrote: View Post
I'm on board for the hard wired transporter for centrally prepared food. This allows the Tribbles to get caught up in the works, and come out alive at the other end.
Except that after Kirk found tribbles in the food slot, Scotty said, "They're in the machinery, all right," and went on to say they probably got there through an air vent. That implies they weren't beamed.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
What would be the difference, energy-wise between hard-wired transporters for centrally prepared food, versus crude replicator technology?
If you've got transporters, you've already virtually got replicator technology. The only thing you need to add to a transporter to make it a replicator is enough stable computer memory to store a pattern indefinitely, plus a hardware/software tweak to let it materialize that pattern from a stored matter source rather than the original. (Indeed, we've already seen a TOS transporter function as a replicator; it replicated Captain Kirk in "The Enemy Within," though where it got the extra matter supply is mysterious.)
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Old September 7 2008, 02:37 AM   #23
Wingsley
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

It could be that the tribbles get into the machinery of an automated central food preparation room/complex located at one or more locations of the starship, through an air vent, and got beamed into the food slots in the mess hall from there.
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Old September 7 2008, 04:08 AM   #24
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

The problem I have with the Tribbles being beamed is how TNG noted that the replicators and (at the default setting) cargo transporters use "molecular level" beaming, which is good for inanimate organic objects, but insufficient for living tissue.

Now I admit this is a TNG thing, but since TNG ships likely have more available power then a TOS ship does and TNG ships use the lower-resolution technology, why wouldn't the TOS ships do so?

As such, if the tribbles were beamed, they should not have arrived in the exact same state they departed in...
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Old September 7 2008, 04:32 AM   #25
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

I'm painting with broad strokes here, but even if the "proto-matter" based genesis cycle of the 2280's was officially a failure, it stands to reason that matter manipulation tech got a shot in the arm during related research. Dr. Carol Marcus (Markus?) may well have been the "mother" of what became the TNG replicator.

It's always nice to try and tie a little established trek lore into such speculations.
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Old September 7 2008, 05:19 AM   #26
LutherSloan
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

Well, we know that a lot of Trek technology uses the transporters. Replicators are one, but the holodeck is another.
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Old September 8 2008, 07:19 AM   #27
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

It's a bit unclear whether transporting matter "as is" is the more difficult feat, or altering of the details of matter.

I mean, the former would seemingly require knowing the matter down to the absolute finest detail - but the transporter could well "cheat", moving the matter in "lumps" that already contain a lot of information. It's not as if an automobile needs to understand quantum physics and scan the passengers down to quantum level in order to get them from A to B at "perfect resolution".

In contrast, creating modifications at resolution X would seem to require resolution X or better in all circumstances. Even if one introducted the modified matter in a "lump", making it fit in the intended place would seem to call for resolution X at the edges...

Thus, the A-to-B transporter might be invented significantly earlier than the device that can manipulate matter, biofilter it, turn yeast into turkeys and so forth.

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Old September 8 2008, 09:36 AM   #28
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

About TOS replicators or TOS food processors using mini-transporters - I just don't think so. The series and movies gave me the impression that it used a lot of power - slow, big light changes, 'transporter power is down to minimal!' lines and all the transporter malfunction episodes.

Making of Star Trek states that the food slots are mini-turbolifts that go to and from a central facility. There's a supply of food in some form that's worked on through machinery and automation, and for speed-sake, there's probably lots of 'quick' items that are always on call. Coffee, chicken sandwich (favorite of Kirk's?), etc. And depending on how you layout the ship, the food conveyer's may not have needed to go very far. If the mess is on 7 or 8, and the food prep center is on 7 or 8, and the transporter is on 7 or 8... -it might not be that big of a deal. I do like the 'dumbwaiter' vending machine idea, too, for remote areas of the ship (on call engineering break areas). Those things could be easily re-supplied via carts. Someone needs to give all those red-shirts things to do between suicide missions.

You could go back and just say 'well let's make it a replicator, they already have transporters!' but that seems to seriously underplay what can happen in 75 years of advancements. If they even had replicators or mini-transporters all over the 2266 ship - what was left to do by 2370 then? I also think we seriously over estimate how 'good' replicated food is compared to the real equivalent. We have lots of food science in our own time and many of us don't know what the 'real' versions of different things taste like: sugar cane Coke vs. corn syrup Coke, 'oil-based' popcorn butter vs. , uh, actual melted butter. McDonalds hamburger compared to a real piece of never frozen meet on a freshly made kaiser. It's a hamburger, for sure, but it's not the same. But the former would be good enough for a starship.

Saying Transporter = Replicator, to me, is like saying 'Celluloid Film Projection = Interactive Movie, afterall they're both moving pictures on a screen'.

Maybe the 23rd century transporter is an 'analog' technology and is 'digital' in the 24th? It seems to me that some kind of breakthrough happened that allowed practical replication.

Last edited by Gagarin; September 8 2008 at 09:50 AM.
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Old September 8 2008, 10:10 AM   #29
Timo
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

The series and movies gave me the impression that it used a lot of power - slow, big light changes, 'transporter power is down to minimal!' lines and all the transporter malfunction episodes.
Then again, a starship would have power to burn, and it wouldn't make any real sense to try and save it pennywise when the warp engine already burns it poundfoolish.

And transporters don't seem to require that much power: they are available aboard small craft, they can be operated even by badly battle-damaged ships like the Enterprise and Reliant in ST2, and it seems Rona Dagar manages to activate one by using the batteries of a hand phaser in TNG "The Hunted"...

If the mess is on 7 or 8, and the food prep center is on 7 or 8, and the transporter is on 7 or 8... -it might not be that big of a deal. I do like the 'dumbwaiter' vending machine idea, too, for remote areas of the ship (on call engineering break areas). Those things could be easily re-supplied via carts.
That would work. Building dumbwaiter chutes to distant random locations would not. Whether transporter rooms count as "distant random" is arguable - they don't strike me as locations sorely in need of food slots, really, so I'd infer from the presence of a slot there that other, more deserving locations such as high-end crew cabins are also being supplied.

Not that we'd ever have seen a food slot in a crew cabin, of course. And in, say, "Enemy Within", "Obsession" and "Amok Time", the bringing of food to a cabin (in the latter case, to a definite high-end cabin of a top officer) furthered the plot... But of course people still bring bottles and other presents to each other in the TNG era where replicators are everywhere.

Saying Transporter = Replicator, to me, is like saying 'Celluloid Film Projection = Interactive Movie, afterall they're both moving pictures on a screen'.
Indeed. Which is why Janeway might refuse to call the TOS era replicators by the name "replicator", because they represent a significantly more primitive and limiting version of the basic technology.

Maybe the 23rd century transporter is an 'analog' technology and is 'digital' in the 24th? It seems to me that some kind of breakthrough happened that allowed practical replication.
Said breakthrough didn't seem to affect the workings of transporters themselves much, tho. Perhaps the TOS versions didn't have biofilters or comparable manipulators, since none were mentioned, but otherwise we're hard pressed to see a difference.

And as many have pointed out, both the TOS and TNG transporters were able to duplicate the objects being transported, in some "fault situations". The creation of an object out of nothingness, or out of a weeks-old pattern, didn't appear to be an option when using the basic transporters of either era, though - only "simultaneous" duplicates were allowed.


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Old September 8 2008, 02:17 PM   #30
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Re: First Replicator Usage?

Timo wrote: View Post
It's a bit unclear whether transporting matter "as is" is the more difficult feat, or altering of the details of matter.

I mean, the former would seemingly require knowing the matter down to the absolute finest detail - but the transporter could well "cheat", moving the matter in "lumps" that already contain a lot of information. It's not as if an automobile needs to understand quantum physics and scan the passengers down to quantum level in order to get them from A to B at "perfect resolution".
How exactly does it move matter in lumps? How do those "lumps" get from one place to another? When you see someone beaming down to a planet, do you see big gory chunks of meat descending from the sky and being slotted into place? The whole idea is that a transporter breaks matter down into a stream of subatomic particles and then reassembles them exactly as before. That absolutely does require quantum-level information, along with a Heisenberg-compensator cheat to get around the Uncertainty Principle (something that could be accomplished by quantum entanglement with a reference object, which is what I assume a Heisenberg compensator is).

Besides, as I said above, we've already seen a TOS transporter function as a replicator -- when it replicated James T. Kirk in "The Enemy Within." And since neither copy of Kirk was half his normal mass, we can assume that it assembled the second copy from some matter supply that wasn't normally in the configuration of a human being -- say, maybe it beamed up a quantity of atmosphere and soil and rock from the beamup site, superimposed the temporarily stored Kirk pattern over the air-soil-rock pattern, and reassembled those particles in the shape of Kirk, but with enough errors in the neurological pattern to result in an "evil" Kirk. (With complementary errors in the original assembly causing the "good" Kirk's brain to be lacking in certain functions as well.)


Timo wrote: View Post
Then again, a starship would have power to burn, and it wouldn't make any real sense to try and save it pennywise when the warp engine already burns it poundfoolish.
I don't buy that argument at all. A starship is a closed system in which conservation and efficiency are critically important. For one thing, there's no way of knowing how long it will be between refueling ports or how much power it might be called on to use, so it's thoroughly reckless to say, "Oh, we can waste as much power as we want because we can be sure it will never become a problem."

More fundamentally, there's the simple question of heat. A starship is surrounded by vacuum, which is a superb insulator. Heat can only be radiated from the ship at a limited rate. And the more power gets used within the ship, the more waste heat inevitably results. "Power to burn" is a fitting choice of words, except it's the crew that gets burned -- or baked -- if power is generated too profligately.


And transporters don't seem to require that much power: they are available aboard small craft, they can be operated even by badly battle-damaged ships like the Enterprise and Reliant in ST2, and it seems Rona Dagar manages to activate one by using the batteries of a hand phaser in TNG "The Hunted"...
It's a non sequitur bringing 24th-century transporter tech into a discussion of what 23rd-century starships would've had. Obviously 24th-century beaming tech is efficient enough to allow for replicator use, but the question is whether that was so in the 2260s. So only TOS-era evidence is valid. And in the TOS era, we never saw a transporter aboard a shuttlecraft or got any indication they could be found on small scout ships. And we saw a number of episodes where Scotty or Kyle needed "more power" to successfully reintegrate someone in transit. (TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles" makes it explicit that a transporter is a high-power device, since it's one of the systems frozen by the Klingon stasis field, while low-power systems are unaffected; however, the episode later contradicts itself on this point by having the transporter unaffected the second time the stasis field is used. Maybe it takes more power to beam something into the ship than out of the ship?)


That would work. Building dumbwaiter chutes to distant random locations would not. Whether transporter rooms count as "distant random" is arguable - they don't strike me as locations sorely in need of food slots, really, so I'd infer from the presence of a slot there that other, more deserving locations such as high-end crew cabins are also being supplied.

Not that we'd ever have seen a food slot in a crew cabin, of course.
We saw one in Kirk's quarters a few times, although it was only used to make drinks.

The FJ blueprints put the transporter rooms on deck 7, right? That was just one deck above the food processing machinery, and between that machinery and the crew-quarters decks.

And I can see why it would make sense to have a food slot in the transporter room. Heck, the poor guy who needs to stand there by himself for 8 hours at a time is gonna need at least the occasional cup of coffee. Also, what if there's a contamination issue and the people beamed to the transporter room need to be kept in isolation for a few hours while medical tests are done? Remember, they didn't have biofilters at the time. In that case, it might be necessary to have a way of delivering food to the transporter room without any direct interaction between the quarantine subjects and the rest of the crew.


And as many have pointed out, both the TOS and TNG transporters were able to duplicate the objects being transported, in some "fault situations". The creation of an object out of nothingness, or out of a weeks-old pattern, didn't appear to be an option when using the basic transporters of either era, though - only "simultaneous" duplicates were allowed.
Exactly. The advance is in the storage capacity for large patterns. The difference between a transporter and a replicator is like the difference between (pre-digital) broadcast TV and videotape -- the former can have a much higher image resolution because it doesn't have to store the information, just pass it through and move on to the next bit. (You can send a lot more water through a length of pipe than you can store in a bucket of the same volume. But now I'm making an analogy for an analogy.) Of course, transporters are able to store the information long enough to hold a pattern in stasis for several minutes, but it seems to be a volatile, ephemeral sort of memory that degrades over time. The key to practical replication was developing a memory capacity sufficient to store at least molecular-level patterns permanently, as well as reducing the energy demands of the transporter system sufficiently to allow a ship to have dozens of mini-transporters rather than a few main units.
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