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A Hacked 3D Printer Is Teleporting Objects Like in 'Star Trek'

Scotty, the 3D scanning/printing combo, destroys your designs before it transports them to be printed again.

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Meet Scotty: a 3D printer and scanner that “teleports” objects in a way that demolishes the original and reproduces an exact replica inside a 3D printer nearby. Created by a team of researchers at the Hasso Plattner Institute, the device first slices up an object as it’s scanned—ensuring that no one can reprint the work—and then sends an encrypted copy of the 3D file to a receiving printer.


Scotty gets its name after the fictional Star Trek character who manned a teleporter that operated on principles similar to the 3D scanner and printer combo. The current prototype combines a MakerBot Replicator 2X with a 3-axis milling machine, a camera, and a microcontroller for encryption, decryption, and transmission, and only works on single-material plastic objects.

In the future, researchers foresee the technology having two possible applications: Scotty could “help preserve the uniqueness and thus the emotional value of physical objects shared between friends” and “address some of the licensing issues involved in fast electronic delivery of physical goods.” Their next stop? Creating a high-definition version of Scotty, and continuing their research into the technology's potential applications.

To learn about how Scotty works, check out the video and images below:



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