Restricted teleportation

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davidstarlingm
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Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:28 pm UTC

Is there a way to come up with a teleportation that isn't broken in some way -- that won't allow us to violate conservation of energy and a zillion other things? In other words, something that would be convenient and useful, but not make the universe completely and totally different?

Possible rules:
  • Transit time limits to the speed of light over the shortest path
  • Requires normal installations at both the exit and entry points, both with energy sources
  • Moving the primary components of a teleportation installation through the teleportation field will render them inert
  • Requires energy that increases with respect to the mass being teleported, the volume being teleported, and the difference between the reference frames of the two sites
  • Changes in momentum are divided between the two installations
  • Both the installation and the mass or individual teleported have a cool-down period proportional to the distance traveled on the last teleport

Can we think of anything else?

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby idobox » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:14 pm UTC

Make the transmission be carried by photons or similar particles. That way, you won't violate relativity, and if you frames of reference have relative speed, or different gravitational potential, Doppler effect will kick in, and require you to inject or extract energy to get the particles at the right energy for conversion (ie, red shifted photons can't be converted back).

If your system so that it generates two identical streams in opposite directions, you don't have to worry about momentum any-more, and the less than 50% efficiency should be a deterrent against any form of exploit.
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby zenten » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:19 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Is there a way to come up with a teleportation that isn't broken in some way -- that won't allow us to violate conservation of energy and a zillion other things? In other words, something that would be convenient and useful, but not make the universe completely and totally different?

Possible rules:
  • Transit time limits to the speed of light over the shortest path
  • Requires normal installations at both the exit and entry points, both with energy sources
  • Moving the primary components of a teleportation installation through the teleportation field will render them inert
  • Requires energy that increases with respect to the mass being teleported, the volume being teleported, and the difference between the reference frames of the two sites
  • Changes in momentum are divided between the two installations
  • Both the installation and the mass or individual teleported have a cool-down period proportional to the distance traveled on the last teleport

Can we think of anything else?


Have it disintegrate the item at the source and recreate it at the destination, and it is physically impossible to alter the item being teleported in any way. You probably also don't want the converted item mid transit to be a useful form of energy for anything else. The first is so people can't just duplicate themselves by chucking some rocks in along with them, and the second is so you don't use this to make a high powered rock to energy converter.

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:12 am UTC

Yeah, it either needs to be something other than destroy-and-reconstitute outright, or it needs to be a black box. Otherwise, it implies godlike powers even if they're not being used for a teleporter.

Why the magic that teleported materials can't immediately be teleported again, or that teleporters can teleport anything but a functioning teleporter? If the energy costs are high enough and the device has a cool-down period, you could still keep them from being run all the time, and if time is proportional to distance, daisy-chaining doesn't do anything magical. To prevent someone sending the smallest possible teleporter by the usual means, then teleporting a larger one, you could just have a minimum size, a fixed maximum volume for the transported material, and some non-modular component that makes up some structural part of the device (say, an all-in-one-piece phlebotinium ring that circles the whole system.)
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:57 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Why the magic that teleported materials can't immediately be teleported again, or that teleporters can teleport anything but a functioning teleporter? If the energy costs are high enough and the device has a cool-down period, you could still keep them from being run all the time, and if time is proportional to distance, daisy-chaining doesn't do anything magical.

The notion would be that being teleported destabilizes an object/person for a little while, so you can't be on every continent before lunch. If there's no cool-down period, the world would be too dramatically altered, as anybody with the necessary resources can almost literally be everywhere at once. The cool-down period ensures that concepts of home and time zones and time management remain viable. For example, you don't want to teleport in to work in the morning if there's a chance you'll need to teleport to a meeting later that day. You don't have to spend time traveling, but you do have to spend time between traveling, so business trips and hotels and taxis still exist.

The question is how we can have functioning teleportation and still change the world as little as possible.

It's not impossible to teleport the components of a teleporter, but the idea is that the temporary destabilisation renders the components unusable or unpredictable for a long time (like, on the order of decades); that way, components would still need to be shipped around normally. Teleporting to and from the moon would be entirely possible, but you'd have to drag all the components of an intralunar teleportation network up by conventional means, further limiting expansion.

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby idobox » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:24 pm UTC

You can make the teleportation process take time in itself, not counting the transmission. If you have to freeze stuff before teleporting it, or the scanning takes half an hour, it will limit it's use, the same way you don't take the plane for short trips. If preparing a human for teleportation takes a full day, people won't use it to travel on Earth, but it will still be worth using it to Io or Proxima Centauri.
It results in effects very similar to a cool down, but appears a little bit less hand-wavy.

I don't see why you don't want people being able to teleport teleporters. You could send a probe with a small teleporter and a robot arm to your destination, once it's there, you would ship teleporter parts to build a larger teleporter, and then teleport your real payload.
Trains can move train parts, and plane can transport plane parts already.
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:47 pm UTC

idobox wrote:You can make the teleportation process take time in itself, not counting the transmission. If you have to freeze stuff before teleporting it, or the scanning takes half an hour, it will limit it's use, the same way you don't take the plane for short trips. If preparing a human for teleportation takes a full day, people won't use it to travel on Earth, but it will still be worth using it to Io or Proxima Centauri.

It results in effects very similar to a cool down, but appears a little bit less hand-wavy.

Well, I don't want to make it that restricted. If it takes a day to prep for, it isn't really functional near-instantaneous teleportation. My initial thought was to have teleportation that was quite useful and yet not OP. To keep the cool-down from being handwavy, perhaps destabilization will result in a dramatically increased cancer risk if repeated exposures are sustained in too short a period of time.

I'm not sure how realistic it would be go to to Proxima Centauri this way. Remaining disintegrated for five years isn't something many people would appreciate.

I don't see why you don't want people being able to teleport teleporters. You could send a probe with a small teleporter and a robot arm to your destination, once it's there, you would ship teleporter parts to build a larger teleporter, and then teleport your real payload.
Trains can move train parts, and plane can transport plane parts already.

It was just a possible limitation to prevent runaway OP-ness.

But are there any other ways that you could "game" the system to produce world-shatteringly-fantastic results?

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby idobox » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:01 pm UTC

The prep period could be a form of scanning, or charging something. Destabilization sounds a lot like star trek science, because if your atoms are not in the right position at arrival, you'll be dead soon, no matter how long you wait between TP. If it's some form of new physics, you added handwavium where you could have done without it.
For example you could argue that all the information is not transmitted at once, but over some time. That way, you could zap out of existence, but would have a delay when being reconstructed on the other side, limiting the power of TP.
Alternatively, you might need to accumulate 1GJ of energy in both the transmitter and receiver, but could be limited to 1MW before causing damage. That way, you would have an effect very similar to cool down, with no new physics. And factions with different technology levels could have different charging speed, which could be a tactical advantage.

davidstarlingm wrote:I'm not sure how realistic it would be go to to Proxima Centauri this way. Remaining disintegrated for five years isn't something many people would appreciate.

If the only other option is generation ships, people would do it. Heck, I would do it myself.


davidstarlingm wrote:It was just a possible limitation to prevent runaway OP-ness.

I'm not sure what you would consider OP. You want people being able to zap around Earth at a moderate frequency, but not being able to move tons of food to Mars?
Making it expensive or dangerous is an easy solution to limit the power. If one travel in a thousand ends up with you turned inside out, people would use it only when necessary.
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:24 pm UTC

Destabilization sounds a lot like star trek science

I keep hearing "dinosaur transform static" every time I read "destabilized" in this topic. Much in the same way that every time I see "runner on a treadmill" in the thread index, I think "Yes, he still takes off."

How high can the cost of digging out of the gravity well reasonably be? State the obvious, but Mars at its closest is only 6,000 times as far from Florida as Beijing is, so unless the redshift factor you mentioned earlier is absurd, the space program gets replaced long, long before air travel does, and there's probably not an easy way around that.

I think that limiting the quickness of teleportation works in the opposite direction to what dsm wants. That makes it more economical for longer trips (that is, space travel) and less so for the kinds of trips normally done with aircraft.

With or without the delay, Sealab 2021 becomes a thing, and Red Lobster in US flyover territory sells fresh fish, while we finally start making use of those big nuclear waste dumps we keep talking about and putting off. Without the delay, I can think of some tactical purposes, but only if symmetric, big-states warfare became a thing again, which would change the world far more than teleporters would. Most industrial applications would simply be a matter of whether or not the cost per pound is better than that of the current methods.

A possible limitation to add, if it isn't implied already, is that not only can objects not simply be converted into energy, but objects transmitted simply have to go somewhere and be received by another pad. If the device works as a perfect matter shredder, it would have applications from intelligence agencies to nuclear waste disposal. (Since the matter at the receiving end ends up in the reference frame of the receiving platform, even a receiving platform in close solar orbit for the good old-fashioned "drop it into the sun" solution would be extremely inconvenient.)

I know I just said this a few posts back, but I'll phrase it as a question this time: any ideas what the method of transmission is? (That is, since all of the usual sci-fi methods of teleportation are based on already-world-breaking technologies, whether it's the ability to deconstitute matter or convert it to and from energy, wormholes, etc.)
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby tomandlu » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:42 pm UTC

What about some quantum-entanglement handwavium? You have to physically transport some sort of entangled non-corporeal version of yourself, but once it's in a new location you can swap with it (and you can have as many copies as you like). So... very convenient to have one at work and one at home, etc.?
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby tomandlu » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:22 pm UTC

Or (and this is getting very handwavium - I'm trying to fulfil the OP's requirements as I understand them), you use many-worldsium and just shift to a universe where you're where you want to be. You can't use it for interstellar travel, because you can't be transported there until someone can get there by conventional means (since otherwise there's no universe that exists with you in the right place). The transporter's main job is to find the right universe - i.e. the one where everything is exactly the same apart from your location...

The more outlandish your requirement, the more unlikely it is to be fulfilable (in that no universe exists where your location has changed but nothing else).

Have to admit this is more Douglas Adams than Stanley Robinson...
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby Xanthir » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:24 pm UTC

Battlefield Earth's teleporters at least avoided the duplication problem by literally swapping space with the other end (and whatever was in that space came along for the ride). They didn't have much else in the way of restrictions, so they physics were completely exploitable, but you could add those in without too much issue:

* add a lightspeed delay for the sending end to propagate its signal to the receiving end
* add an additional energy cost equal to the gravity well differential, so there's no "put a teleporter at the bottom of a cliff, water turbines up to the top, get free energy" issues
* add something about momentum

One story I read (can't recall the name, but it was a little old, I think, and was about a reporter covering a riot that spread around the world via teleport pads) had teleporters able to shunt momentum separately, up to some limit, so they used giant floating concrete blocks in lakes as momentum sinks. If people teleport around in roughly balanced directions, the sinks will just drift around a central spot. (This also implies that teleporters would be useful as rail-gun analogues, by teleporting something massive and shunting the momentum into something small.)
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby zenten » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:25 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:What about some quantum-entanglement handwavium? You have to physically transport some sort of entangled non-corporeal version of yourself, but once it's in a new location you can swap with it (and you can have as many copies as you like). So... very convenient to have one at work and one at home, etc.?


So, I have some of this handwavium at work. I go home, have dinner, and go to bed. I then have breakfast, and teleport to work.

What happens to my dinner and breakfast? It's not entangled with the handwavium I have at work.

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:37 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
tomandlu wrote:What about some quantum-entanglement handwavium? You have to physically transport some sort of entangled non-corporeal version of yourself, but once it's in a new location you can swap with it (and you can have as many copies as you like). So... very convenient to have one at work and one at home, etc.?


So, I have some of this handwavium at work. I go home, have dinner, and go to bed. I then have breakfast, and teleport to work.

What happens to my dinner and breakfast? It's not entangled with the handwavium I have at work.

Yeah, it kind of has to be a spatial translocation kind of thing.

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:13 pm UTC

I really like the volume-swapping idea - if you want it to sound at least as legit as magnetic bracelet power, you could call it macro-entanglement or something (though that doesn't jive with limiting it to c.) And the mass of the air in the chamber won't be much, so cost could still scale pretty directly with the mass sent.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:16 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I really like the volume-swapping idea - if you want it to sound at least as legit as magnetic bracelet power, you could call it macro-entanglement or something (though that doesn't jive with limiting it to c.) And the mass of the air in the chamber won't be much, so cost could still scale pretty directly with the mass sent.

Some kind of chamber where the entire contents are exchanged by volume?

If you had two people, each going opposite directions, you could double your efficiency, heh.

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby tomandlu » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:05 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:One story I read (can't recall the name, but it was a little old, I think, and was about a reporter covering a riot that spread around the world via teleport pads) had teleporters able to shunt momentum separately, up to some limit, so they used giant floating concrete blocks in lakes as momentum sinks. If people teleport around in roughly balanced directions, the sinks will just drift around a central spot. (This also implies that teleporters would be useful as rail-gun analogues, by teleporting something massive and shunting the momentum into something small.)


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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby Armanant » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:07 am UTC

Better still if you need to have the exact same mass to do the exchange you fix any momentum problems too I think? So maybe you can exchange without equalizing mass but if you do so between moving teleporters (eg on different planets) then shit aslpodes as the momentum gets dumped wherever it is appropriate for all the physics to still balance out?

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby tomandlu » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:30 am UTC

How can I think my way out of the problem when the problem is the way I think?

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby idobox » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:39 pm UTC

That's also how teleportation work in Discworld, and given the disk is rotating, it leads to lots of fun.
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:28 pm UTC

Armanant wrote:Better still if you need to have the exact same mass to do the exchange you fix any momentum problems too I think? So maybe you can exchange without equalizing mass but if you do so between moving teleporters (eg on different planets) then shit aslpodes as the momentum gets dumped wherever it is appropriate for all the physics to still balance out?

Hmm, that's a good question. If an identical quantity of mass is exchanged in each direction in every teleport, can the momentum and energy simply be exchanged with no ill effects? Or do we still have to deal with gravitational/inertial potentials?

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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby snowyowl » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:56 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
Armanant wrote:Better still if you need to have the exact same mass to do the exchange you fix any momentum problems too I think? So maybe you can exchange without equalizing mass but if you do so between moving teleporters (eg on different planets) then shit aslpodes as the momentum gets dumped wherever it is appropriate for all the physics to still balance out?

Hmm, that's a good question. If an identical quantity of mass is exchanged in each direction in every teleport, can the momentum and energy simply be exchanged with no ill effects? Or do we still have to deal with gravitational/inertial potentials?
Yes, if the masses are equal you can conserve kinetic energy, momentum, angular momentum, and all that. You might have to add some specific rules for powerful electric/magnetic fields, or you could violate conservation of energy that way (put two charged particles in a powerful electric field and keep teleporting them around for free energy).
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Re: Restricted teleportation

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:39 pm UTC

snowyowl wrote:Yes, if the masses are equal you can conserve kinetic energy, momentum, angular momentum, and all that.

I figured that equal-mass teleportation would help with that. Ballast would be worth its weight in....well, weight.

You might have to add some specific rules for powerful electric/magnetic fields, or you could violate conservation of energy that way (put two charged particles in a powerful electric field and keep teleporting them around for free energy).

Hmm.

So what would be the energy cost?


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