By: Anthony Dinglasan
During the 1960’s, Star Trek made history by simulating teleportation on the small screen. As a result, several TV shows and movies have copied the iconic ‘transporter’ into their own mediums. Fortunately, inspiration did not limit itself to fiction. For instance, in 1993, IBM scientist Charles H. Bennett proposed that teleportation is possible. In October 23, 1998, physicists from the California Institute of Technology proved his point. The team copied the structure of a photon, sent the information across 3.28 feet, and created a replica of the original photon at the other point. The original photon ceased to exist once the replica was created.
How Did They Do It?
Teleportation is achieved by ‘scanning and reassembling’ the object. Scientists analyze the properties of an object and then transmit those instructions to another location. The scientists reassemble the object using those exact properties. However, this does not mean you can clone the object. Quantum mechanics prohibits the copying of objects. Therefore, the original object will be altered or destroyed once the object is teleported.
But Will We Ever Teleport A Human?
Although movies like the Fly and Star Trek may tell us otherwise, human teleportation will not be a reality for some time. Teleporting a photon is one challenge but scaling the object to a human is another. The human body is made up of an estimated 50 trillion cells. In addition, each cell is considerably more complex than a photon because of the organelles that reside within it. Analyzing each cell and displacing it is not easy. Having a human appear ‘somewhere else’ is a feat that not even theoretical physics can deem possible.
However, there may be hope. Perhaps an advancement of technology will break our skepticism. On the other hand, maybe our doubts will always be justified. However, if you are wishing a device could teleport you from the couch to the remote, keep waiting.