Transporter (Star Trek)

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A transporter is a fictional teleportation machine used in the Star Trek universe. Transporters convert a person or object into an energy pattern (a process called dematerialization), then "beam" it to a target, where it is reconverted into matter (rematerialization). The term transporter accident is a catch-all term for when a person or object does not rematerialize correctly.

According to The Making of Star Trek, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's original plan did not include transporters, instead calling for characters to land the starship itself. However, this would have required unfeasible and unaffordable sets and model filming, as well as episode running time spent while landing, taking off, etc. The shuttlecraft was the next idea, but when filming began, the full-sized shooting model was not ready. Transporters were devised as a less expensive alternative, achieved by a simple fade-out/fade-in of the subject. Transporters first appear in the original pilot episode "The Cage". The transporter special effect, before being done using computer animation, was created by turning a slow-motion camera upside down and photographing some backlit shiny grains of aluminium powder that were dropped between the camera and a black background.[1]

Gene Roddenberry in 1964 had not seen The Fly upon his first draft of "The Cage", but it was brought to his attention, and this is how the transporter was considered.[citation needed]

According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, the three touch-sensitive light-up bars on the Enterprise-D's transporter console were an homage to the three sliders used on the duotronic transporter console on the original Enterprise in The Original Series.

In August 2008, physicist Michio Kaku predicted in Discovery Channel Magazine that a teleportation device similar to those in Star Trek would be invented within 100 years.[2]




According to dialogue in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Daedalus", the transporter was invented in the early 22nd century by Dr. Emory Erickson, who also became the first human to be successfully transported. Although the Enterprise (NX-01) has a transporter, the crew does not routinely use it for moving biological organisms. (Captain Jonathan Archer once said that he wouldn't even put his dog through it.) Instead, they generally prefer using shuttlepods or other means of transportation before falling back on the transporter if no other means of transportation were possible or feasible. The capability is very rare; in "The Andorian Incident", the Andorians, whose technology is far superior in Starfleet's in many regards, are explicitly stated not to possess the technology, and in "Chosen Realm", a group of alien religious extremists who hijack the ship is unaware of it to the point that when Archer, choosing himself when their leader insists on sacrificing a crew member, takes the captain at his word when told that the device disintegrates matter rather than teleporting it. The crew aboard the 23rd century USS Enterprise frequently use the transporter. By the 24th century, transporter travel was very reliable and "the safest way to travel", according to dialogue in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Realm of Fear".

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