Daily Mail reported on the invention, dubbed "Scotty" after the Star Trek character responsible for teleporting members of the USS Enterprise crew, due to its ability to rebuild objects in a different location to the original as if teleporting it.
Scotty works by scanning an object "layer by layer" using a digital camera. The user is then able to select a 3D printer recipient to "teleport" the object to and press the 'relocate' button, which prompts Scotty to send the object's "encrypted digital blueprint" to the 3D printer. An exact replica of the original object is then printed in layers of plastic.
During the scanning process, the device shaves off each layer of the object "using a built-in milling machine" until the original object is destroyed. The reason for this, according to the device’s researchers from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany, is to "preserve its 'uniqueness', rather than simply copying it" in order to enhance “the emotional value of physical objects shared between friends as the transported item is no longer just a copy, but the only version in existence".
In addition, by destroying the original object the researchers hope to address the issue of pirating physical objects which could arise from the use of 3D printers as designs for certain items could be leaked and the items then copied and sold on.
The researchers explained: "When the seller sends the object through Scotty, the system guarantees that the seller's object ceases to exist the moment the buyer receives it Scotty allows transferring objects quickly without infringing on designers' rights to be paid for their designs." They added that Scotty could also allow items bought on online stores like eBay “to be sent instantaneously".
So far, Scotty is only able to teleport plastic objects in only one color, with the objects also required to be "painted black in order to maximize the contrast for the digital camera to 'scan' it". However, the article notes that as 3D printing technology develops, these limitations could eventually be addressed.
Source: The Recycler