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Atmel | Bits & Pieces


Researchers develop a way to relocate physical objects across distances using destructive scanning, encryption and 3D printing.

The catchphrase “Beam me up, Scotty” made its way into pop culture in the late 1960s thanks to the debut of the incredibly-popular Star Trek series. It originated from the command Captain Kirk gives his chief engineer, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, when he needs to be transported back to the Starship Enterprise. And while quantum teleportation of data is now a realistic possibility, unfortunately apparating from place to place Harry Potter-style is not… yet.

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Well, a team of Hasso Plattner Institute researchers in Brandenburg, Germany may have developed the next best thing: a machine capable of teleporting inanimate physical objects across a distance. The device itself, aptly dubbed Scotty, consists of an off-the-shelf 3D printer, like an ATmega1280 powered MakerBot, which the team had extended to include a 3-axis milling machine, a camera, and a microcontroller for encryption/decryption and transmission. The unit is driven by a Raspberry Pi, while Arduino Uno (ATmega328) handles the milling machine.

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