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Breakthrough Brings Star Trek Transporter Closer

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the scott-me-up-beamy dept.

Communications 503

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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The "Independant"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19386719)

Come on, guys. :-(

Re:The "Independant"? (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386903)

They tried to teleport the name of the source directly into the summary and it got scrambled. Cut them some slack, it's a new technology.

Dear Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387247)

Please inform me when I can "transport" my penis into T'Pol. Samantha Carter would also work quite well.

Thank you.

Re:The "Independant"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387127)

Oh, was that a typo? I thought The Independant was a new newspaper for insects.

Bad Summary (5, Funny)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Bad Summary (5, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#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>

Re:Bad Summary (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387035)

[Data:] "Sorry, but I woke up feeling really encrypted"

Explains why Data had the urge to write Perl ;-)

-1 Troll

Re:Bad Summary (5, Funny)

Viraptor (898832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387275)

Data: Cpt., I feel encrypted by that last teleportation...
Cpt.: What do you mean?
Data: All my video data has been modified... and there is a number burned in my mind... it's 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0.

One step closer to an ansible, maybe. (4, Interesting)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387067)

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.

Re:One step closer to an ansible, maybe. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387139)

dugg

Re:One step closer to an ansible, maybe. (3, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:One step closer to an ansible, maybe. (4, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387207)

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.

I don't think... (0, Redundant)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386735)

...that they meant Brent Spiner here:
>A team of physicists has teleported data over a distance of 89 miles.

Teleport? (4, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Teleport? (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386769)

This sounds like a new form of fiber optics rather than teleportation. No item was physically disassembled and reassembled in another place.

In other words:

No red-shirted crewman were harmed in this experiment.
     

Re:Teleport? (1)

Fireye (415617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386773)

They used quantum theory/application to transmit the state of the photons. So, if this could be applied to real matter, you would know what stuff goes where and then have to assemble it on the receiving end. Note, no disassembly of the transmitting end.

(I think)

(Maybe)

Re:Teleport? (4, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386905)

you missed the part about quantum entanglement [wikipedia.org] , which is not simply fiber optics. Niels Bohr is rolling in his grave right now.

Re:Teleport? (5, Funny)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387215)

Wouldn't he only be rolling in his grave if you try to observe him?

Re:Teleport? (0, Flamebait)

huckda (398277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386925)

yes...stupid article summary

Re:Teleport? (3, Informative)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387237)

It is teleportation of information, not of matter. We scientists define teleportaion as "moving something between point A and point B without ever being in between", which is different from the Star Trek "transforming matter in energy and into matter again". It does get us a whole lot more funding than if we had called it something unfashionable like "Communication through entanglement".

By the way, IAAT (I am a teleporter). I don't get to work work in the Canaries though. It's a shame.

Accurate headline? (4, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386765)

From TFA, this sounds less like teleportation and more like another extension to the distance quantum cryptography has been successfully sent.

Re:Accurate headline? (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386853)

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.

Re:Accurate headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387075)

I know that if you think you understand quantum mechanics then you don't understand quantum mechanics, but could someone give a quick run-down on how this is supposed to work and how it has been proven that this isn't just the light reaching the second location?

Does it matter? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19386771)

If you want to teleport a brick, does its exact quantum state matter? Does it matter for life? It seems like the only use would be to teleport a running quantum computer.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386883)

Only if you want to send the spooky psyche of the brick over; the jolly, perky side remains where it was. Psychosis for bricks... I can see the lawsuits now.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387233)

Does it matter for life?

That depends on whether, when you transmit the tissue, the consciousness automatically goes with it.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387243)

Now *THAT'S* what I call distributed computing!

spooky? (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386775)

The only thing spooky about this article is that the editors think data transmission and matter transmission are in any way related.

Re:spooky? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386895)

The only thing spooky about this article is that the editors think data transmission and matter transmission are in any way related.
Speaking of that, what about fax machines? How come it's supposed to be sending the piece of paper to the other fax machine but I keep getting it back in the tray? I think it must be broken.

Re:spooky? (4, Interesting)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:spooky? (2, Interesting)

freakmn (712872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387057)

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 the enemy was intercepted, and there was an extra copy of him, with memories intact, that was captured? It would change much more than you'd see on the face of it.

All in all, I think that it's not directly related to a transporter, but it could be used if one were invented. It really is not the best title.

Re:spooky? (4, Interesting)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387125)

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

Re:spooky? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387183)

I hereby dare you to transmit matter without also transmitting information.

Einsteins view at least (4, Informative)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Matter? Yeah, right. (0, Flamebait)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386787)

Have these guys who wrote the summary heard of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle [wikipedia.org] ? It was in all the papers.

Re:Matter? Yeah, right. (3, Informative)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386891)

Have these guys who wrote the summary heard of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle? It was in all the papers.


Sure they have. That's why all the Star Trek transporters employ "Heisenberg compensators". Duh.

Re:Matter? Yeah, right. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387235)

I heard the "Heisenberg Compensator" was really just a setting on the "Plot Hole Compensator", right next to "Inertial Dampener" on the dial.

Re:Matter? Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19386921)

Big deal, they just need to perfect the Heisenberg compensator and they are good to go.

Re:Matter? Yeah, right. (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386947)

Have these guys who wrote the summary heard of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle [wikipedia.org]? It was in all the papers.
No, they already thought of that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heisenberg_compensato r [wikipedia.org]

Re:Matter? Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387081)

Teleporting a quantum state doesn't require you to measure it, so the Heisenberg uncertainty principle doesn't apply. In Star Trek they use an Heisenberg compensator only because they buffer your pattern in non-quantum RAM.

'tis uncertain... (3, Funny)

Namlak (850746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387103)

Have these guys who wrote the summary heard of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle?

Yes, but as soon as they heard of it, they couldn't locate it.

Re:Matter? Yeah, right. (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387171)

Quantum teleportation allows to create a PERFECT copy of a particle, but the quantum state of the source particle is destroyed as a result. So we sidestep Heisenberg because we do not perform any measurement.

Call me dumb... (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386791)

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:Call me dumb... (2, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387017)

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 data-teleportation model, you only have to send the message "The crewman is wearing a red shirt."

Unfortunately, since he didn't actually go on an away mission, you'd have to find another way to kill him off.

- RG>

Re:Call me dumb... (3, Funny)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#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).

Re:Call me dumb... (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387155)

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... (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387257)

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 any significant depth or any clear/new information. Quantum entanglement has been know for a while, but (and I am not a physicist, but AFAIK) there's never been any way to use it to transmit data in a way that breaks the speed of light. That would be a discovery, but it still wouldn't be moving actual matter across distances. It wouldn't be deconstructing atoms, molecules, or whole organisms on one side and rebuilding them on the other. So please, no more stores about how "Star Trek transporters are just around the corner!"

Re:Call me dumb... (1, Informative)

Phylarr (981216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387267)

We can already transport data through space without using quantum entanglement at all -- it's called radio.

The key difference is that quantum teleportation can transmit data at speeds faster than the speed of light.

I think a lot of the verbiage used to talk about quantum physics/quantum computation is misleading and was poorly chosen. There is no reason to call it "teleportation" when they're only sending data and not matter. And there's certainly no reason to keep quoting Einstein's "spooky" for any of these summaries. It's all just BS that detracts from the actual science, which is pretty interesting as long as you don't come into the study of it expecting to find Star Trek-type teleporters.

When the day come... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386809)

We can beam William Shatner's ashes out into space without making a mess on the ground.

Re:When the day come... (4, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386887)

I bet he would really hate that since he is still alive.

Re:When the day come... (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386899)

Given the way he speaks, I find a 5 stage rocket more fitting.

Re:When the day come... (0, Troll)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386949)

You're right. It'll be years before scientists can figure out how to beam his galactic-sized ego into space.

Re:When the day come... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387141)

Whoops. Ok, didn't take that even into account.

Think Russia might reactivate their Nova program [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:When the day come... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387223)

It would probably just be easier to move Earth.

Re:When the day come... (1)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387239)

You mean because he's a rocketman?

Re:When the day come... (5, Funny)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386945)

I vote for beaming William Shatner into space now. Why wait for ashes?

IndependEnt! (1, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386811)

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 around your neck.

Anyway, to get back on-topic, is it just me or the idea of teleporting "data" 89 miles not very impressive? I realize it's probably poor wording, but I'm sure once I click the "submit" button here, this data's going to be instantly "teleported" all over the world!

Re:IndependEnt! (1, Funny)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386997)

-1 Pendantic

Refactor English! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387123)

Ugh... it's "The Independent". Now we can't even copy the names of publications correctly without misspelling them

I've concluded that English does not need most vowels. It needs a placeholders. Example:
"Independ*nt". If the vowel does not contribute to the sound, then replace it with an ast*risks (or some other chosen character). "Hum*r" (not to be confused with Humm*r) is another one that doesn't need a fricken vowel there. The problem is not the spellers, but the language.
     

Re:IndependEnt! (1)

dlthomas (762960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387185)

"It's called highlight/ctrl-c, people!" ... not where I come from.

I volunteer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19386823)

Steve Ballmer as Andre Delambre, it'll be an improvement.

Bad Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19386835)

Until they're delivering matter, not data, this isn't a teleporter. OTOH, it is a breakthrough in secure communications, but why would I care about that? It won't cut my commute time to 40ms, it's worthless. Dugg down ... oh wait, wrong site.

more like ender's game... (2, Interesting)

XiX36 (715429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386849)

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.

Re:more like ender's game... (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386927)

Philotic.... no, I am not going to start discussing that with someone.

Re:more like ender's game... (1)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387039)

Yep. Sounds much more like the ansibles. However, if the buggers were only 89 miles away, I don't think the ansibles would have helped much. Jane are you there? Jane?

IANAP.... (3, Interesting)

retro128 (318602) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.... (4, Informative)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387007)

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.... (1)

OfficialReverendStev (988479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387227)

OK maybe I missed something but that would seem to say that it's impossible to create identical particles in identical quantum states. Isn't that, though, what this whole experiment did? Two identical, entangled particles that act as one? If I'm reading your post correctly (granted, I'm probably not) it says that what they've already done is impossible.
I submit that I'm probably misunderstanding. Any help please?

Re:IANAP.... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387265)

"Such a thing is unfortunately impossible. In 1982"

25 years has turned may other things from impossible to possible.

Re:IANAP.... (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387037)

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 information can be transmitted in this way, so causality cannot be violated through entanglement. "

Re:IANAP.... (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387061)

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 message anyway. See? I told you I was confused.

Re:IANAP.... (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387165)

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.

Re:IANAP.... (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387177)

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.

Useless for transporting matter (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#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).

Since when did... (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386871)

the National Enquirer report on quantum entanglement? What a bunch of hype. I'm happy about what they accomplished, but it's just another small step of which we'll need many.

Wrong Sci-fi (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386929)

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 that data to rebuild them on the other side in the same way the replicators worked. No entanglement involved.

Re:Wrong Sci-fi (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387065)

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.

Re:Wrong Sci-fi (1)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387211)

Like almost all Start Trek technology, the pseudo-science principle used to justify it is pretty malleable, and can be changed by the writers to fit the situation as needed.

The way I remember it, a subject is physically broken down to a molecular level and the actual particles of which he/she is composed are then sent through "subspace." So the subject is in fact transported, not replicated. If the transporter simply transmitted data describing how to build a copy of the person, then 1) there would be no transporter accidents, because you could simply delay disassembling the original until the person had arrived safely, and B) there would be no limitations about "beaming through shields" since their pure communication technologies obviously work through shields. Also, 3) nobody would ever die, since they could always be restored from a "backup copy" using the transporter.

How this explanation, which I recall as the official one, jives with certain episodes like the one with two Rikers is a mystery to me. The beauty of technobabble.

*Overheard in the lab* (2, Funny)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 7 years ago | (#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!

Re:*Overheard in the lab* (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387255)

BIFF (security guard brute): Dork!

Yeah right (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386941)

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.

Better watch out! (1)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386957)

For the sake of the scientists that worked on this project, I sincerely hope they 'transported' data that isn't 'protected' by the DMCA or I'm sure the RIAA/MPAA will cause this technology to become still-born.

sounds great but... (1)

underlord_999 (812134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386987)

...the connection setup overhead be a real pain! Now to exchange encrypted data with some place, I have to entangle some photons and physically move them to said destination. THEN all my traffic is "instantaneous". Or is it that it isn't instaneous but just some very, very, very small latency? I also wonder how long it takes to establish the entanglement between a pair of photons and how many photon pairs are needed to get a reliable signal-to-noise ratio. The article is a little light on details in that arena. Anyone know?

Re:sounds great but... (1)

underlord_999 (812134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387175)

(replace 'instaneous' with instantaneous.) You failed me Firefox spell-check! Oh who am i kidding... now everyone knows I like making up new words.

Oh great, I also left out a 'must' in front of 'be a real pain' or maybe I just left out an 'Arrrrrr' at the end of that sentence. I don't even have a Firefox grammar module (pirate edition of course) to blame...

nice summary... or something (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19386999)

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 publishing information in non-fee journals as a matter of course? they are holding science hostage!) it's hard to say what this actually gains, given that it requires the transmission of a third photon to get useful information out of the original two.

What I don't get about quantum entanglement is... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387011)

Isn't it like having a pair of shoes, and you separate the shoes into two boxes. You then you take your shoe in a box away, and upon opening the box you observe that you have the left shoe.

Ahah! That means the other one was a right shoe. No information is transmitted though. How is it not like that?

Maybe someone can convert this to a car analogy to explain it better.

Eh... (1)

Zero Degrez (1039938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387027)

Wasn't the whole point of the transporter to move matter, and the state of matter? This article says they want to sent the state of matter without sending the matter.

I feel if someone tried to implement this as a transporter they would end up with a remote cloning station, like the device from The Prestige. Useful, but I think this is like saying a Fax machine moves us closer to a Star Trek transporter.

Give me a call when someone develops the Heisenberg Compensator.

Re:Eh... (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387137)

Maybe, though theoretically wouldn't the original be destroyed in the process?

Re:Eh... (1)

Zero Degrez (1039938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387231)

Nope, that's what made the transporter so magical. You Cut. You don't Copy Paste Delete.

Re:Eh... (1)

udowish (804631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387191)

It is a little bit miss-represented. Quantum teleportation has NOTHING to do with matter transport; only "spin" or state transport. The issue in science is this, it appears to violate relativity. Information travels faster than light, a change in one coupled pair results in an instantaneous change in the other; cause and effect have NO measurable time difference and it appears to be independent of distance. Our next leap in science will be another branch of physics that addresses issues like this. Quantum Mechanics, Newtonian Mechanics, Relativity, XXXXXXXX PS I have a Heisenberg Compensator already, most people do...can u guess what it is?

Re:Eh... (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387241)

Ahh, but how are they going to develop a Heisenberg Compensator if they don't perform experiments on transmitting the full quantum state of matter over a distance?

You see, that's the point.. in order to transport matter, you are going to have to take a very detailed picture of its exact quantum state. And you're going to have to transport that over a distance. This is a LOT of data (something like one bit per Planck Area (LOTS and LOTS of bits per cubic centimeter)), so if they can harness some of that "spooky action at a distance" (Quantum entanglement) to directly transmit the states instead of store and forward, then maybe they've taken a quantum leap (pun intended) toward teleportation.

I doubt that governments will let this get out (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387045)

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, NASA would kill to get their hands on it. You could send more than data through this thing, remember, you could send electricity, too! Space probes powered by earth-based generators (or earth systems powered by space-based satellites).

Too bad we'll never get to see any of it.

No it doesn't (0, Flamebait)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387089)

But hey, this is Slashdot after all, so I guess I should just be lucky this article isn't both a dupe and accompanied by a misleading headline.

All they teleported was Data? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387097)

A team of physicists has teleported data over a distance of 89 miles

Wake me up when they teleport Lore too.

But is it useful information? (1)

xerent_sweden (1010825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387113)

I was under the impression that there are a lot of laws in quantum mechanics that perhibits real information to be sent through quantum entanglement. If any information would be sent this way, it would appear that the information has actually travelled back through time - and that's impossible. If you have two entangled electrons, one with spin up and one with spin down, and the're existing as waves, you don't know which one has the spin up and the spin down. Now put the electrons in a box each (together with Schroedingers cat, perhaps) and put one in another galaxy. Now if you look at one of the electrons and that one has a spin up, you know that the other one must have a spin down, even though it's in another galaxy. The other electron doesn't even know this, it's still a wave in a box until someone looks upon it and it's suddenly a spin down. Hence the "spooky" part. However this information is useless to you. You have no way of telling the other guy in the other galaxy what spin his electron has because it would take millions of years for any message to reach him. Spin is also completely random, it's 50%-50%. So even if you have lots of electrons with spins, they're just noise, let alone exactly the inverse of the noise the other guy has in the other galaxy. But noise is noise and does not contain any information. So even if the other guy waits millions of years until he looks in the box to obtain information he already knew, the information is already useless to you for any practical purposes. So how can one send information with photons?

"Star Trek style transporter" (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387115)

What are the other styles of transporter that's available now?

Actual article title and author (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387119)

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.

Obligatory reference: (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 7 years ago | (#19387145)

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?

Transporters won't ever happen (2, Funny)

mbadolato (105588) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.'

Oh, no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19387189)

Their transporter has just made my space elevator obsolete. My company is doomed.

When will the relentless pace of technology ever stop?
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