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Trek Tech: Google Promising Star Trek Talking Computers + China Leading Teleportation Research December 8, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Science/Technology,Trek Franchise , trackback

Last week we reported how NASA scientists were referencing Star Trek, when announcing the discovery of a new type of life. Now we have Google promising that they are working on a "Star Trek future" for talking to computers. Plus, it appears the Chinese are working hard on teleportation.

 

 

Google promises ‘Star Trek future’ in computer voice tech

Google has acquired the Phonetic Arts, a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England who have had success in creating natural computer speech.


Phonetic Arts Generator promises "the ability to say anything in a faithful reproduction of a real voice"

And when Google announced the acquisition on their official Blog, Speech Technology Mike Cohen referenced Star Trek twice:

In Star Trek, they don’t spend a lot of time typing things on keyboards—they just speak to their computers, and the computers speak back. It’s a more natural way to communicate, but getting there requires chipping away at a range of hard research problems.

….

We already have a strong engineering center in London and look forward to welcoming Phonetic Arts to the team. We are excited about their technology, and while we don’t have plans to share yet, we’re confident that together we’ll move a little faster towards that Star Trek future.

So how long until our computers star talking to us, and even flirting with us, as happened with Kirk in the Star Trek episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" (see clip below).

 

Chinese working on transporters?

In the last week there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Wikileaks disclosure of classified cables from the US State Department. Today Popular Science noted one cable that details some of the advanced work being done by scientists in the People’s Republic in a variety of fields from plasma physics, nuclear fusion, and even quantum teleportation.


China’s University of Science and Technology hard at work on future tech

From the specific cable:

…the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Science at the Microscale (HFNL). HFNL has 95 faculty members and roughly 400 graduate students. HFNL research focuses on quantum communication, nanoscience, superconductors, spintronics, and cognitive sciences. In the area of quantum communication, HFNL was conducting research in quantum teleportation and free space quantum cryptography that scientists hope will result in “totally secure” communications. USTC also oversees China’s “Program 178,” although they did not describe the nature of this program. (COMMENT: A cursory walk through their labs seemed to indicate they had already succeeded in single-particle quantum teleportation and are now trying to conduct dual-particle quantum teleportation. END COMMENT)

Of course this kind of quantum teleportation is a long way from the Star Trek transporters, but it appears the Chinese are leading the field. Could it be that the first to say "one to beam up" will be headed to a Chinese spaceship? Let’s just hope they don’t end up with so many transporter accidents as seen in Star Trek’s future, such as this scene when Captain Kirk is split in two (good and evil) in "The Enemy Within"

Comments

1. John from Cincinnati - December 8, 2010

Transporters will not happen in our lifetimes or our Great great granchildren’s lifetimes, if at all. It is a much too complicated process, even more so than faster than light travel.

2. Robman007 - December 8, 2010

I believe that the Germans experimented with this sorta stuff in WW2, if I’m not mistaken. Who says that we are not leaps and bounds ahead of the Chinese. We did spare a few scientists from their day in court after the war.

3. bulldogtrekker - December 8, 2010

Beam me up, Yao Ming!

4. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire. - December 8, 2010

Computer. (Working). Take me to Trekmovie.com. (Working). Hmm.Would beCool. With my I Phone you can talk into it and it can turn that into Text. Just like in Tos Assignment Earth except on a Phone instead of a typerwritter.

5. trekmaster - December 8, 2010

The Germanx experimented in WW2 with teleportation!? I guess it was the USA experimenting with teleportation´. Do you temember the “Phildadelphia Experiment”?

6. vince - December 8, 2010

…a FEW???
Dude, you took all the good german (maybe nazi) scientists…
Without them, the states won’t have the nuclear bomb and certainly no spacefaring program ;)

7. Brett L. - December 8, 2010

The biggest obstacle to having transporters is a well-known principle of quantum mechanics called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. It basically says it’s impossible to know all the characteristics of a subatomic particle (e.g. electron) at the same time. For example, once you start measuring a particle’s precise location, you start losing information about its other characteristics (like momentum). Measure momentum, and you get less accurate info about its location. It’s not exactly an intuitive concept.

Transporters would probably depend on isolating all these particles and having data on all these characteristics in order to take someone apart and put them back together again. So, it’s very possible this technology may never be developed. Then again, Trek gets around this by making occasional references to the “Heisenberg compensators,” so you never know!

8. Battle-scarred Sciatica - December 8, 2010

Das ist gut, ya?

9. Thorny - December 8, 2010

Someone’s working on teleportation for real? “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

10. Sebastian - December 8, 2010

Single particle quantum teleportation is a LOOOOONNG way from “Beam me up, Scotty.”

True teleportation of living matter cannot be done. Period.
Someone out there prove me wrong, please. ; }

11. Red Dead Ryan - December 8, 2010

“Computer….”

“Hello computer………?”

Yeah, I don’t think we’ll ever see transporters being a successful invention. But who knows? I do think replicators are a real possibility, though not in our lifetimes!

Wasn’t the Philadelpia Experiment about a cloaking device? An “X-Files” episode was based on it.

12. Pensive's Wetness - December 8, 2010

wasn’t the anniversery of The attack on Pearl Harbor (by the germans) a couple days ago?

13. Green-Blooded-Bastard - December 8, 2010

@10
Perhaps you should rephrase your statement to “True teleportation of living matter cannot be done *today*” or “currently” or “with existing technology”.

Your actual statement is too incomplete to argue against, and to revise it makes it impossible to argue as no one as access to the future’s state of technology.

Well, no one except JJ Abrams.

; )

14. Avro Arrow - December 9, 2010

@12

Not that I know of. But the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor *by Japan* was indeed on December 7.

15. Brighton1968 - December 9, 2010

“I teleported home last night with Ron and Sid and Meg. Ron stole Meggie’s heart away while I got Sidney’s leg.”

16. Remington Steele - December 9, 2010

Ok lads…seriously…this article is about computer technology moving forward…lets not start talking about WW2 or anything…it’s only gonna end in arguements

17. Shunnabunich - December 9, 2010

They’re not gonna be Star Trek computers unless they can get enough clean audio samples to rebuild Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s voice. :)

18. Paul B. - December 9, 2010

@14 – You know that #12 was joking about the Germans attacking Pearl Harbor, right? Old quote, being funny, not needing correction. :)

19. Robman007 - December 9, 2010

Yeah, I know the Americans had it too, but the Germans were screwing around with that and all sorts of stuff too, even hover technology. Granted, most of this is just stuff you see on the History Channel shows about the Nazi’s and the Occult, but it’s interesting, to say the least.

The “few” comment about scientists was more or less meant to be a snide remark. I was well aware of history played out in regards to that.

There was a Season 3 episode of The X-Files that dealt with this technology (philly experiment), or Mulders theory of it…it turned out that the ship actually just had something wrong with the water supply and the crew (and ship) aged quickly because of that.

20. Chang - December 9, 2010

I’m going to go ahead and assume that the Chinese are leaders in the field in that they actually have a research team, as opposed to everyone else who spent the money on something that can actually be done.

21. Gary - December 9, 2010

If you look really carefully at the “Tomorrow is Yesterday” clip, you can see The Shat’s toupee line because of the reflection of the studio lights on his forehead.

22. rm10019 - December 9, 2010

12 = Epic Fail… wow.

23. FirstBorg - December 9, 2010

@20
The Austrians have a research in Quantum Teleportation too. I think they were the first to measure the quantum entanglement effect some 10 years ago.

24. CmdrR - December 9, 2010

Until they make transporters that don’t rip the delta shield off your left nipple, these things will never be safe.

Ian M. Banks (who includes plenty of Trek references) calls his gadget a “displacement” sumthinorother, implying that if you tug at one end of the universe an exact replica appears at the other end. Dunno if there’s any science in that, but it’s a good image to start from.

25. A Kirk for the Rest of Us - December 9, 2010

I don’t think Quantum Teleportation of a single particle is anything new. If memory serves I believe that has been done before. Can’t recall the details. Anyone?

@21
LOL. Shatner isn’t wearing a toupee.

26. James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK - December 9, 2010

Keyboard…. How quaint…

27. Losira - December 9, 2010

100-200 years ago a lot of things could not be done. Evan organ transplants 45 years ago were questioned its an old story. With hard work and open mindedness, a lot will come to past.evan transporters. And talking computers. Great! I felt this was better then keyboards. Remember what scotty comented on The voyage Home. About Keyboards, “how quant” and I agree

28. Chang - December 9, 2010

@23 be that as it may, it’s still a physical imposability. Heisenberg proved it can’t be done but I loved that nod that Star Trek gave to his theory with Heisenberg Compensators. I mean re-materialising an object perfectly just sounds unlikely.

Wormholes I can get on board with, even warp drive is theoretically possible with the right power source but Transporter technology is just too out there.

29. Kevin - December 9, 2010

And the transporters will be built with the same quality love and care we’ve come to know from Chinese products. Go ahead and step right in.

30. Dork Speed Dude - December 9, 2010

@29, LOL!!!!

31. Red Dead Ryan - December 9, 2010

29

Anybody who uses the “Made In China” transporters will rematerialize as lead!

32. Melllvar - December 11, 2010

To all you non-believers

I bet a trip to the moon would have seemed impossible not one hundred years ago.

You would think that Star Trek fans would be a little more open minded. Anything is possible

33. Andrew collingwood - December 13, 2010

Anybody can buy china products with low cost. Thanks.

34. DesiluTrek - December 14, 2010

Not very Star Trek of those of you with the anti-China bias. Try to respect Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. In the midst of the Cold War, Gene Roddenberry included a Russian in the crew. What may be valid today about China likely will not be in 250 years. The transporters on the Enterprise we know and love could be devised and built by Chinese. So what?

35. Red Dead Ryan - December 14, 2010

34

Have you considered the notion that we might be……you know…..joking?

“Humor. A most difficult concept”

Savvik, “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan”

36. Latashia Logemann - February 13, 2011

That may seem decent though i am still not so sure that I like it. At any rate will look far more into it and choose personally! :)

37. Topher Bernard - December 4, 2011

It has been doen before, a few times I think.

Thanks

38. TrekkerChick - December 17, 2011

@32

Not so much.. You just needed to be build a large enough cannon and the resources of the Gun Club of Baltimore, Maryland – right?

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