Transporter, how's they work?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Brainsucker, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    I always bothered with this, but what transporter do actually? Are they just transferring human cells from one place to another, or clone them?
     
  2. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    They measure every atom and particle and whatever in your body, convert it to data, transmit that data to whereever you want to go and then convert it back into matter.

    In other words, magic. :P
     
  3. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    In actual fact, the act of measuring something on the atomic scale in real life has the effect of changing the object having been measured. This is called the Heisenberg Principle. So it's fundamentally impossible to do what transporters are supposed to be doing.

    Happily, transporters are equipped with Heisenberg compensators. No lie.

    --Alex
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The jury is still very much out on what transporters actually do. But apparently, there's this process of "phasing" involved, in which your matter assumes a new form that happens to be invisible and capable of being shot through walls and space into a distant destination where it will "de-phase" back to yourself. It doesn't really sound as if your every constituent particle actually gets identified or converted into abstract data - which is fine because

    a) there'd be an awful lot of abstract data to handle
    b) if you could handle that much abstract data, you could also manipulate it for eternal youth or the like, or create copies, or store it for immortality
    c) turning matter into data and back supposedly would involve Einsteinian energies, yet transporters sometimes operate with very little power (we've seen a hand phaser battery fire up one)
    d) and yes, there's that Heisenberg principle to consider...

    If you just move the same old matter from A to B albeit in a somewhat exotic form, then all this copying business becomes so much more complicated that it probably isn't worth the bother, explaining why we don't see clone armies or infinite numbers of starships.

    Interestingly, this "phasing" business is present on several other Treknologies, too. In episodes like "The Next Phase", "The Pegasus" or "Time's Arrow", tweaking with the phase of things indeed turns them invisible and capable of going through walls. In episodes such as "Macrocosm", we learn that phaser (!) beams can transport objects or substances to the target. Perhaps it's a case of the same fictional physics being used for three distinct but closely related purposes?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Transporter

    1st off, my understanding about the Star Trek: Universe rules of how it works is based off watching the show and interpreting alot of wiki sites and ST Tech manuals.

    Misconception #1 = Transporters DO NOT replicate any matter, it just rips apart every molecule in a objects body and reassembles them at a new location in the same way it was right before the transport started.



    Here's the step by step process of Transporting on a very high level:

    Part 1: Dematerialization

    1) Locking onto a target:
    You use targeting scanners to figure out a objects exact position in space factoring everything around it, movement, gravity, rotation of planet, etc.

    Normal transporter locks use the combadge as a homing beacon to figure out where the person is, otherwise it would take much longer to filter out all the data to lock onto the object you desire.

    2) Immobilization of target:
    When you are ready to be transported, some form of force field keeps you relatively still for the 1-3 seconds that it needs to do the transport sequence.

    3) Scanning the target:
    A 'Molecular Imaging Scanner' scans every single molecule down to a quantum level. This way the computer knows where every single molecule is located, direction of movement, frequency of vibration, etc. As the 'Molecular Imaging Scanner' is working, the 'Heisenberg Compensators' will account for the position and direction of all subatomic particles composing the object. All this massive amount of data is stored in the transporter's computer memory storage.

    4) Moving the actual matter:
    At the same time as the 'Molecular Imaging Scanner' is working, any molecule that has completed its scan is seperated from the object and moved along a stream of subatomic particles. This is known as the 'Matter Stream'. The matter stream is then briefly stored in a Pattern Buffer. Think of this as a storage tank for every molecule in the object.

    If you're wondering where does the 'Matter Stream' move, it gets pulled from the source location, through a tiny hole into Subspace, and back through another tiny hole into our space to be stored in the Pattern Buffer.


    Part 2: Rematerialization.

    1) Calculating how to reassemble the object to it's target location:
    The computer must account for Doppler Shift at it's target location where it wants to reassemble the object. Once the computer figures that out, it will apply any necessary calculations to the entire data set for every subatomic particle that the object is composed of.

    2) Transmission of Matter Stream to target location:
    Now the computer will start sending the correct molecules in order through a matter stream. It will take the molecules it wants to assemble and shoot it through a tiny hole back into subspace and exit through another tiny hole at the target location.

    3) Reassembly:
    As the matter is coming out of the matter stream, it is being reassembled molecule by molecule in the exact same position it should've been in the giant molecular position map that the computer made earlier with the 'Molecular Imaging Scanner', with appropriate shifting based on mathmatical calculations for the target location.

    4) Release of object:
    Once you are fully reassembled down to the last molecule, you will be released from whatever force field was holding you in place.


    And there is my simple guide to understanding the Transporter Process.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  6. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    So basically, they are transferring the cells, and not replicate them
     
  7. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    They're breaking down the entire mass into it's constituent atoms, converting those atoms to a form of energy, transmitting that energy to a remote location and reassembling it all in situ. Somehow, through more-or-less undescribed means, replication is possible, such has happened to Kirk and Riker. Mass can change mid-transport also as happened in "Rascals" [TNG]. It can be possible during lengthier transporter procedures for the person being transported to be aware of his surrounding in the beam as per "Realm of Fear" [TNG]. Certain versions can make this all happen while the person being transported is still moving around too, as per the Star Trek movies.

    --Alex
     
  8. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wouldn't say convert atoms to a form of energy, since you would probably lose what made up the original atom if you changed it, it's more like you get ripped apart like atom sized Lego Blocks and get reassmbled.

    As far as changes happening while mid transport, every incident was due to outside interference. The transporter itself didn't do anything to cause said changes. Starfleet still doesn't have a good idea as to what happened since those were one time events and not repeatable for testing.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is the theory (maybe in different details) that I think is closest to what's happening.

    The transporter take you, a physical person, changes you into a "energy person," who is still a living being.

    Then it sends you (holding you in that state) to the destination.

    Then it either changes you back to a physical person, or basically just lets you go, at which time you naturally/automatically revert back into physical person. (per That Which Survives, and Second Chances)

    The process is quite fast, but during the process you are aware of your surroundings. (per Barkley's experience. and Kirk and Saavik conversation in TWoK)

    :)
     
  10. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    Unfortunately, "Our Man Bashir" totally eliminates any concerns about storage of the data, so apparently these two first problems are "solved." The computer aboard Deep Space Nine can store at least 5 patterns indefinitely even after the pattern buffer matter stream has totally degraded. If they can store five, they can copy at least two - at least as far as data storage concerns go.

    I'd venture to say that Star Trek's typical excuse of not being able to "store so much data" flies in the face of everything we've seen them do with a transporter.

    Of course, they wouldn't even need any of that to offer people eternal youth. Just find a Galaxy class starship transporter system and program it to remove the RVN sequences from the person's DNA and you can send them right back to puberty.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In "Our Man Bashir" it has to be pointed out that the heroes were ultimately stored aboard the holodeck, a system known to itself utilize transporter technology. Their physical bodies were clearly perpetuated by the holoentertainment system; it was made clear that only their "neural signatures" were stored as data, in a separate location.

    Which was always a major "Huh?" anyway. Odo says "This is more complicated than just an ordinary transporter pattern", which is obvious bullshit. It's the transporter patterns of five people - what could possibly be more ordinary than that?

    We already know that Federation computers can store small numbers of brain patterns, in whole or in part ("Return to Tomorrow", "Datalore", "Schitzoid Man" etc). Storing a body pattern along with the brain pattern might be a task a thousand or a million times more demanding (at least considering the number of particles involved), and cannot be done in practice - so the bodies must remain in the form of phased matter, be it in a transporter pattern buffer or in a holodeck's comparable systems.

    As for rewriting the details of a person's pattern, I guess it can be done. But it won't give eternal youth the way you describe, because obviously the secret of eternal youth still categorically eludes our heroes, regardless of the method. Either everything we think we know today is false or at best a partial and insufficient truth, or then the involved sciences in Trek developed differently.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    That's why I always confused with Transporter. Are they transferring cells or just make a copy paste data and creating a clone for the user. Because if they just transferring cells (physically), then it won't go to the computer data, but to a physical storage. But if it goes to the computer data, then you can clone as many as one man as you like (although we don't know what happen to the original cell / men as they are vanished from their original position.

    So my question is actually about what is Transporter do

    Are they transferring the physical cells or just destroy the original body and create a clone based on the pattern data in the computer, that's it. If it just destroy the original body and create a clone, well....
     
  13. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Quick question Brainsucker, what's your first language? I'm guessing it's not English...

    --Alex
     
  14. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    @Albertese : Well yes, I'm Asian and English is not my first language.
     
  15. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I only bring it up as you don't seem to get the difference between cells and atoms. I was assuming that, rather than a lack of basic scientific knowledge on your part, this was probably a translation thing. I expected English wasn't your first language, because, though quite understandable, it isn't quite "right."

    The transporter allegedly (according to the TNG technical manual) works with two different modes, a cargo mode, where items are disassembled and reassembled at the molecular level and a live transporter mode, which disassembles a living creature, such as a person, at the quantum level. The difference being that the molecular, cargo mode transmits the data of whatever it's transporting in a compressed format (kind of analogous to .jpg format image in today's technology). This is the same format that items are stored as in the replicator files. A person must be transported at the quantum resolution level which allows all of the individual atoms and their positions and motions to be preserved, allowing the person to come out the other side in the same state they where in at the start of the process. Theoretically, this pattern could be stored and used to copy people, but the storage requirements are supposedly orders of magnitude beyond what the usual replicator file would be. And, I'm willing to bet such use of a transporter would be deemed highly illegal under Federation law, though presumably theoretically possible.

    So, in either case, the cells themselves are being broken down by a process that would be impossible by today's understanding of actual science into energy at sub-atomic resolution and reintegrated on the other end.

    Now there are plenty of episodes which make this explanation seem at least incomplete, if not totally wrong, but that's the official story from the creators of the show.

    I hope that helps...

    --Alex
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It does seem that at least the part about there being two modes runs contrary to the actual plotlines. In the early episode "Dagger of the Mind", transporters were used for beaming what was supposed to be just cargo, but a live stowaway survived the process easily enough. In "Datalore", a cargo transporter moved Lore without killing him, despite the android supposedly being as intricate a piece of material as a human being is, and despite there being no story logic in specifically setting that transporter on "life-friendly" mode.

    Also, many a plotline involves substances too delicate to be transported, while the transporting of humanoids basically never presents any problems. The few times there is a problem, it's deliberately caused by the resisting transportee ("The Hunted") or involves a major hardware failure ("Body Parts", "Our Man Bashir").

    Perhaps a low-resolution mode does exist, but is very seldom used, and never as the default for cargo units. Or perhaps there only exists one resolution for the transporter to begin with - infinite resolution, as dictated by the pseudo-physics involved, and not subject to any sort of adjustment.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've heard the cloning theory before, and I can't imagine anyone with two working brain cells using the thing if that was known to be the case.

    "Enlightened" or not, who is going to commit suicide just to avoid putting extra miles on the shuttlecraft?
     
  18. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    Can I just say that in Our Man Bashir they made a point of saying they had to erase nearly every bit of data on every computer aboard the station, it's cores, etc down to the very minimal machine code for keeping the life support working just to barely fit 5 patterns.

    An entire station running computer technology throughout with that kind of storage having to be emptied nearly 100% to fit their base patterns, not necessarily their conciousness which seemed to exist on the holodeck in some other way.

    That is not practical, they couldn't figure out how it even happened or worked to even try repeat it and on a starship would have been disasterous as there would have been nowhere near enough storage or possibly power.

    So obvioulsy whatever way transporters normally work, they do not store anywhere near as much information on each individual, otherwise the mass transporter evacuations we've seen would be impossible.
     
  19. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    DS9 is not a state of the art Starbase like what usually resides in UFP territory. DS9 was a ore processing plant before getting renovated. I doubt they needed that much computing power for everything in the facility.

    Voyager on the other hand was able to expand their transporter buffer capacity to beam over the entire crew of a Klingon Starship of over a 100 people in a few seconds.

    So I think it's more a limitation of computing power, computing memory, and pattern buffer storage capacity.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Again, please note that the bodies of those five people were stored in a transporter-based system, namely Quark's holosystem. The station computers only held the five brain patterns.

    In contrast, the transporter system of the Voyager was able to hold a great number of "entire" people in the buffer for much longer than mere minutes in "Counterpoint". It consumed a lot of power, resulted in cumulative damage, and hit time limits at what looked like anything between fifteen minutes and two hours, but it did work. And with a bit of ingenuity, a single person could be held in the buffer (or perhaps cycled in and out) for seven decades in "Relics", making him immune to the passage of time.

    So storage in pure data form is actually something of a last last resort, when the transporter tech itself can achieve similar results more conveniently by using the "patterns in buffer" approach. Computing would not appear to be involved in any major way in the storage of transporter patterns in buffer...

    Timo Saloniemi