Teleportation, as theorised by a number of science fictions films, TV shows, and novels, is the high-tech ability to deconstruct humans and objects in one space and reconstruct them on a molecular level in another.
While this far-fetched bit of fiction still remains just that, researchers from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany have made a kind of proto-teleporter from two hacked together 3D printers that technically deconstruct and reconstruct inorganic matter across space. It's a bit of a technical loophole I'll admit — not filled with the glowly lights and whiz-bang sound effects you'd expect — but it's cool nonetheless.
Named "Scotty" (appropriate), the two 3D printers are actually retrofitted Makerbot Replicators complete with cameras, milling machines, and Raspberry Pis to decrypt information passing between the two printers. The "sender" printer cuts away objects layer by layer, snaps an image, and repeats until the entire object is destroyed. The information travels to the receiving printer, which interprets the information in real time and prints out a replica on the other end. The best part is that the object is simultaneously destroyed and rebuilt at the exact same time. Neat!
Scotty gets into the philosophical murky waters of asking whether something reassembled using identical design and materials is really the same thing before it was transported, and Hackaday brings a little realism to the "teleporter" claims saying the concept is little more than what a fax machine is for 2D space. But who knows, in 50 (please be 50) years, when our atoms are being obliterated and reassembled on the regular, maybe Scotty will be a transporter grandfather of sorts. [TechCrunch via Hackaday]