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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

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

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Old August 16 2012, 10:59 PM   #1
Captain Shatner
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How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

After reading The Physics of Star Trek, I realized just how improbable the transporter is a piece of technology! It makes the Heart of Gold's Improbability Drive look positively facile by comparison! When you beam up someone, are you beaming up the matter or the information about the matter (i.e. - The bits or the atoms?) If you were beaming up the atoms, then consider you'd have to have enough energy to break down every atom into pure energy (the equivalent of many, many hydrogen bombs.) On the other hand, storing the info on 10 to the 28th power atoms in the human body is no cakewalk either! Especially on a ship utilizing tape-based computer systems...
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Old August 16 2012, 11:18 PM   #2
Unicron
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

The easiest answer, as with many other Treknical things, is that the transporter works according to the plot.
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Old August 17 2012, 02:06 AM   #3
Pavonis
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

What's the cliche answer? "It works very well, thank you."
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Old August 17 2012, 09:23 AM   #4
Timo
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

When you beam up someone, are you beaming up the matter or the information about the matter (i.e. - The bits or the atoms?)
Why choose? By beaming slightly "de-matterized", slightly "informationalized" goo, you get the best of both worlds: the structure of the matter carries some of the information needed, and its halfway nature reduces the costs of disassembling and reassembling.

This is what the dialogue (and visual evidence!) suggests, too: matter is turned into "phased" form, which is invisible and goes through walls and moves at lightspeed and whatnot, but maintains internal coherence and carries information.

If you were beaming up the atoms, then consider you'd have to have enough energy to break down every atom into pure energy (the equivalent of many, many hydrogen bombs.)
But you'd get it back at reassembly. So you'd just have to optimize. That's how you build an industrial plant today, too: some parts of a process require heating, others require cooling, and you carefully balance the energy budget before designing the actual pipes and radiators so that you make maximal use of "free" heat. With transporters, disassembly and reassembly might take place simultaneously, with a net energy consumption approaching zero.

In slightly delayed processes, unless you have access to time travel technology (which Starfleet has!) you just have to "realize" those immense energies for a while (which Starfleet regularly does, with the warp drive and all!).

On the other hand, storing the info on 10 to the 28th power atoms in the human body is no cakewalk either!
It's not a matter of storage but of transfer. If it's not instantaneous, then we're dealing with the transfer of finite amounts of information per unit of time, possibly across multiple channels. Might be quite manageable even with today's technologies, really.

Although I'm rather partial towards the "best of both worlds" solution. Even today, by far the fastest way to get lots of information from New York to Paris is to only digitize the text and the numbers, put that data in a memory stick, attach the pictures in physical form, and send the envelope to Paris via a courier service...

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Old August 17 2012, 02:26 PM   #5
Tiberius
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

It works according to the plot device.
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Old August 17 2012, 08:04 PM   #6
Drago-Kazov
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

i hope the Nutrek won't have holodecks at least. By the way what is to stop random people from beaming into other people's bedrooms and toilets?
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Old August 17 2012, 09:56 PM   #7
Ronald Held
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

Pavonis quotes mike okuda.
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Old August 18 2012, 01:36 PM   #8
C.E. Evans
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

When you beam up someone, are you beaming up the matter or the information about the matter (i.e. - The bits or the atoms?)
Why choose? By beaming slightly "de-matterized", slightly "informationalized" goo, you get the best of both worlds: the structure of the matter carries some of the information needed, and its halfway nature reduces the costs of disassembling and reassembling.

This is what the dialogue (and visual evidence!) suggests, too: matter is turned into "phased" form, which is invisible and goes through walls and moves at lightspeed and whatnot, but maintains internal coherence and carries information.
For what it's worth, the TNG Tech Manual also implies this by referring to dematerialization as a partial decoupling rather than a total scrambling of molecules as McCoy often called it.
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Old August 18 2012, 03:09 PM   #9
Timo
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

i hope the Nutrek won't have holodecks at least.
What's the point of Star Trek if it has to take place in the world of 1978?

For a space adventure milieu, any projection of future technology is more realistic than that. Hell, even the use of a medieval setting as the space adventure milieu would be more realistic, not to mention more interesting. Swords or morningstars as the preferred sidearms of space adventurers is more realistic than the nonsense we got in nuBSG.

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Old August 24 2012, 02:25 AM   #10
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

We don't know what the future is going to be. Battlestar Galactica played it safe by not having any futurisms that weren't absolutely required by the show format. Basically they had to have starships with FTL drives, they had to have robots called Cylons, and the various related technologies needed to make that happen. I think if we wanted to rebuild those Next Generation sets, we could replace the main viewscreen with an HD television, all those datapads could become IPads, the badge communicators shouldn't be so hard to produce either.
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Old August 24 2012, 11:35 AM   #11
Timo
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

...So TNG actually takes place in 2010? I'd much rather have the painted plywood and backlit Okudagrams, so that there'd be at least something futuristic there.

If the technology exists to build a Cylon, it should have repercussions - in consumer electronics, fashions, military tactics, the way we prepare our food. Failing to show any of those eats away the credibility of the Cylon itself. How hard would it really have been for EJ Olmos to play a recognizable, loveable, loathsome human being in a set that featured a bit more rayguns or nanoclouds and a little less cigarettes and spent gun cartridges?

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Old August 24 2012, 08:47 PM   #12
Mars
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

Timo wrote: View Post
...So TNG actually takes place in 2010? I'd much rather have the painted plywood and backlit Okudagrams, so that there'd be at least something futuristic there.

If the technology exists to build a Cylon, it should have repercussions - in consumer electronics, fashions, military tactics, the way we prepare our food. Failing to show any of those eats away the credibility of the Cylon itself. How hard would it really have been for EJ Olmos to play a recognizable, loveable, loathsome human being in a set that featured a bit more rayguns or nanoclouds and a little less cigarettes and spent gun cartridges?

Timo Saloniemi
Well actually the Cylon related technologies appear in the spinoff Television show Caprica, you have holobands and virtual technologies that are effectively similar to the holodeck, except the Holodeck emerses your real body, while the holoband emerges only your mind and gives that mind a virtual body to control. The reason why Battlestar Galactica looks like our own world except for Cylons and spaceships is in part explained away as a luddite reaction to the first Cylon War.

Star Trek is not all that different from 2010 either. I heard Steve Jobs got the idea for his IPad from the datapads used in Star Trek, the communicators became cell phones. Flatscreen televisions makes it easier to have large main viewscreens in front of the bridge. Phasers simply replace regular guns and tasers.

On the other hand, have you ever visited the site Orionsarm? That was an attempt to make a so called realistic Space Opera. I find such a setting very difficult to imagine, too many superhuman transapients running around. A good analogy is the hyper-cube, it is a 4 dimensional cube. While a cube has 6 square faces, and hyper-cube has 8 cube faces, the hyperspace these cubes bound is impossible for us to visualize but we could imagine ourselves traveling through the 8 cubes that make up the hyper cube. Orionsarm is like that, the main movers and shakers of this setting are godlike supercomputers using wormholes to link various nodes together. Much of what's described in that setting is a bit over the top, most ordinary humans are on vacation as they are the pawns manipulated by these supreme intellects. Not in my taste is another way of putting it. I do think that sometime in this century, we will build a machine that can think, but what happens after that is unguessable as it would take inhuman imaginations to imagine it.
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Old August 25 2012, 08:32 PM   #13
publiusr
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

This might be your Heisenberg Compensator
http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.5485

Remarkably, circuits with access to Open Timelike Curves are shown to violate Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, allowing perfect state discrimination and perfect cloning of coherent states.

Enter Thomas Riker
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Old August 27 2012, 09:37 PM   #14
scotpens
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

The transporter works the same way as the Federation economy. A wizard makes it happen.

Drago-Kazov wrote: View Post
. . . By the way what is to stop random people from beaming into other people's bedrooms and toilets?
What stops people from breaking into their neighbors' houses and stealing their stuff? Shared moral principles and the rule of law. But why was Scotty able to beam the whole load of tribbles into the Klingon battlecruiser's engine room? You'd think starships would have basic security measures to prevent unauthorized persons or objects from beaming aboard.

Timo wrote: View Post
. . . Even today, by far the fastest way to get lots of information from New York to Paris is to only digitize the text and the numbers, put that data in a memory stick, attach the pictures in physical form, and send the envelope to Paris via a courier service...
Have you never heard of YouSendIt, WeTransfer or DropBox? Not instantaneous, but way faster than physical mail.
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Old August 28 2012, 06:26 PM   #15
Ronald Held
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

Are there two transfers, a mass/energy stream and an data stream with all of the information to reassemble the object in its correct state?
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