German researchers tackle “teleportation” using 3D printers

A team of
researchers at Germany’s Hasso Plattner
Institute
have developed a new way for “teleporting” objects using two
ordinary 3D printers.

Gizmodo and others report that the
project, named “Scotty”, uses the printers (MakerBot Replicators were used), a three-axis milling machine, a
camera, and encryption hardware.

Scotty is, according to the
researchers, a “simple, yet functional device that allows us to teleport inanimate physical objects by means of destructive scanning, encryption, and remote 3D printing.”

An item is scanned in the first
printer, the scanned layer sent to another printer to be recreated, then the
milling machine in the original printer scrapes off the layer copied. The
process repeats until the task is completed.

(Click here for a video describing
the process.)

Perhaps “teleportation” isn’t the
right term, though the method may be useful in addressing concerns around
intellectual property and ownership issues associated with 3D printing.

Possible applications include allowing
online vendors sell an item, the buyer printing this out, and the vendor destroying
their original version, “guaranteeing the uniqueness” of the item, as the
researchers put it.

Image: https://hpi.de/baudisch/projects/scotty