The gadgets we see in the sci-fi movies might still be a chimera but we are reaching there one step at time. This small step towards the amazing future is the result of Hasso Plattner Institute’s researchers. They have made a small teleporter, called Scotty, which can transfer objects from one place to another on a digital network.
This device consists of two 3-D printers on both the receiver’s and the sender’s end, a milling machine, a camera and a microcontroller. The cameras scan the object and the re-fabrication is done at the other end. Scotty is a mere combination of already available technologies but the idea is brilliant. On one side the object being teleported is destroyed and on the other side it is generated using the 3-D printers preserving the identity of the object and preventing multiple copies.
Hold your imaginations for a while as Scotty can only transfer the objects made of plastic yet, so you still have to use your car. The idea is very brilliant but it will raise many legal hurdles for the designers. A piece of art uses a lot of creativity but the device can simply replicate it and subsequently reduces the value of the object. So, it is not exactly a teleporter but it is close to one. Let’s hope someday soon we will be able to travel from earth to moon in a few seconds.
Scotty is different from previous systems that copy physical objects, as its destruction and encryption mechanism guarantees that only one copy of the object exists at a time. Even though our current prototype is limited to single-material plastic objects, it allows us to address two application scenarios: (1) Scotty can help preserve the uniqueness and thus the emotional value of physical objects shared between friends. (2) Scotty can address some of the licensing issues involved in fast electronic delivery of physical goods.