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Star Trek's Replicators

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  • Elders (Admins)

Here's a couple of questions for you Sci-Fi Buffs...

Having always been impressed with the idea Star Trek: Next Generation Food & Drink Replicators, I wondered how far off do you think we are to inventing something like this that would be safe and easily available?

Do you think such a device capable of ending famine and starvation would be made available if it were invented? Many large corporations if not governments might fall in the same way as if a water powered car were invented. My conspiracy theory meter is going off the scale here.

What do you think?

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Guest Wellington


I would not bet anything on it being created at all! I guess it would be the summum of engineering: picking up particles at an atomic or subatomic level, beaming them, combining them in a perfect structure and then leaving the result stable... Quite a few headaches for any scientist!

I have read something interesting some time ago, about teleportation of matter. According to ST technical guides, the technology would be quite similar: decomposing a structure first, then beaming the particles and last re-combining them. It would show some mastercraft, no doubt. In the report, there was no sign of any breakthrough in that way. However, the principles were clear and understandable (I just have memory leaks about it). If we take the steps of the process one by one, none is about to be experimented in a lab.

Decombining and recombining molecules is not really hard game at only molecular scale (in some cases only), but I suppose it would need a great amount of energy for even tiny volumes. Then there is a need to store the particles with some kind of classification.

The beaming step (teleportation) is the most fanciable, but may not be allowed in our knowledge of physics. Basically, we cannot even beam energy from one point to another. It would be a good starting point because it would involve basic particles like electrons.

The recombination part... How could we make it? Great differences between, say, some water and a steak and fries. However the basic material would be the same. You just need to get the right sketches to put everything at the right location. I cannot understand how to do it for a 8 oz piece of beef in less than centuries! That is with today's technology. Let us see it at the root: the means of observing atomic-sized things are not really convenient: the presence of atoms is extracted from a side effect of a better-know physical interaction, and then given artificial representation. The samples must be tiny and stay passive. There is no way one can directly play with atoms, for there is no comfortable ways of looking at them! However one can create particles from different ones. But then you need the use of a collider several kilometers in diameter, huge magnetic propellers dispatched on its perimeter, and atomic samples for the tests. Result: a probabilistic high-energy collision leaving some combination of the base material. Really far from the steack and not a lounge-size apparel! It would also mean the end of an old myth, for lead could really turn into gold!

A better solution to end stravation is to decide to give assistance to create fertile fields and then plant seeds. There are so many ways to irigate, to harvest quickly and efficiently. Some of this methods are purely theoretical but would deserve a chance to be implemented. Then maybe well-fed people could create those replicators!  :;): What lacks is maybe only the will to do it. Maybe the assistance given to these country is not the right one, the greatest priority. Butthat would create business, no doubt about it!


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  • 5 years later...

If the world is run by corporations, they want healthy, happy consumers; if they are making money on a replicator they'll let us have it.

If the world is run by egalitarians, they want everyone to be equal even if it means lowering everyone's standard of living, so you wont' get a replicator until everyone can have one (unless you are one of the leaders of course), which means you won't get one until about 200 years after it was invented.

If the world is run by the Illumibatti, then you'll only get one when you go through the secret membership rituals.

If the world is run by the reptilian aliens then you only get one if it fattens you up quicker, or makes you taste better.

If the world is run by demons, they'll let you have one only because the food tastes like crap and is bad for you.

If the world is run by God then he already has a storehouse of manna that he might give you instead.

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Doesn't it just and who would have thought that Simon Pegg, English comedian for those not in the know, would one day contribute to one of the most powerful franchises there is. "Beam me up Scotty" - yeah, I know that was never said but it felt good all the same.

Live long and prosper,


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