replicator technology now?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by varek, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkay, everyone! I hope you are all surviving the winter.
    I was trying to search, to make sure this subject hasn't already been started, but I accidentally started this post. So, please forgive me if this is a duplication.
    Today, while reading STNG's Technical Manual, it seemed to indicate that replicators used about 37 million electric volts (MeV), to dematerialize food items. Medical facilities can currently accelerate proton beams to as much as 250 MeV (Wikipedia, "Proton Therapy"). So, unless boosting its frequency to 25.1 gigahertz (GHz), then replicator technology might be possible now!
    What do you think?
     
  2. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    I'm not an expert in physics, but I think replicator tech is pie in the sky (at least based on our current knowledge in physics).

    Replicators work via the conversion of matter into energy and vice versa. I think that's why many say Trek tech is off the wall:lol:, since that is not theoretically possible at the moment. In a way, it's like warp drive; even the theory behind is way out there let alone the application.
     
  3. The Inquisitor

    The Inquisitor Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The closest you can get nowadays is 3D printing (which is pretty cool) and 'lab meat', essentially meat grown on a petri dish. Both these technologies are in their infancy so a couple of centuries down the line we may have something approximating replicator technology but not as it's seen on screen in trek.
     
  4. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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  5. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    In addition to stereolithography and seleclive laser sintering for fast prototyping, both of which are well developed and pretty cool, there have been food replicators on the market since 1986, but they are called bread machines rather than using the Trek term. They can make loaves of bread, cakes, muffins, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_machine

    And if you have a Lightwave or other CGI model of a Trek ship, you can take it to a stereolithography shop and have it printed out as a physical (plastic) model.
     
  6. The Inquisitor

    The Inquisitor Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I forgot about the most basic form of replicator, the humble office printer. Not quite the same as materialising hot beverages (like a teasmade) but handy for replicating memos for the other office monkeys.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not according to the tech manuals. They work by taking a pre-existing stock of matter containing the necessary elements and manipulating the particles into the desired pattern via transporter technology. Which is still fanciful, but nowhere near as nonsensical as the old "matter-energy conversion" saw -- which would be an insanely dangerous way of doing things, since if you converted, say, 12 pieces of Cheerios (1 gram worth) into energy, you'd get a blast the size of the Hiroshima bomb.
     
  8. cloneof

    cloneof Ensign Newbie

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    Sorry :D. The best the current science can give in the near future is a cure for dying...

    ...from a russian scientist.
     
  9. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Your point being?
    Conversion of energy into matter and back again is Nucleo-synthesis on a much smaller scale with control (for the Federation), and they operate with technology and knowledge that are at least a millenia ahead of ours.
    Remember that Vulcans were already out in space for at least 2000 years before Humans (who were relatively new to the block).
    And with exposure plus some minor (if not heavily) restricted assistance from the Vulcans, they were able to catch up to them in just over a century, further advancing existing knowledge from dozens and hundreds of other races in the next 200 years (which culminated in the 24th century).

    So ignoring the Tech Manuals (which aren't canon in the first place) in this instance to favour direct energy to matter conversion could be plausible (still, the process is not perfect).
    They kept saying it's a conversion of energy into matter and/or matter into energy.
    Rearrangement of plasma particles on a subatomic scale.
     
  10. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just posted this in the "Favorite Trek Technology" thread...but it fits here too...

    http://io9.com/5717803/someday-you-will-be-able-to-print-your-own-dinner
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Despite this, the Vulcans lacked replicator technology themselves until at least after the late-23rd century. Or they were concealing the fact that they did possess such.

    In TNG they kept saying converting matter to a matter stream to matter. Replicators manipulate the actual substance in the matter stream, not in some "energy" stream.

    If you order food, the replicator beams the necessary amount of material out a storage bin, the tech manual describe the material as basically a sterile organic goo, the replicator changes that goo into your requested item and then sends it to the receiving station you made your order from. The replicator of course uses energy (and lots of it), but it doesn't make things from energy.
     
  12. The Inquisitor

    The Inquisitor Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Cheers for the link. I read the whole thing and the author appears to be terrified of this new technology. Always happens with new ground breaking tech. If meat can be grown indoors then a lot of the worlds troubles will be well on the way to being sorted. No more land needed for all the methane belching cows. If I could print a cake I would be well chuffed!
     

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