Star Trek replicator 'close to reality'

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They were much-loved scenes in Star Trek: The Next Generation – Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard walking up to the replicator and ordering, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot”.

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The replicator on board the Starship Enterprise (and also seen in the spinoff shows Deep Space Nine and Voyager) was used to create food, drink and even spare parts out of thin air while millions of lightyears away from Earth.

Now Pocket-Lint is reporting that the Star Trek replicator could become a rality within the next year if a theorised collider manages to turn light into matter.

The report says that the theory was proposed in 1934 when Gregory Breit and John Wheeler proposed the idea of smashing two photons – aka light particles – together to create an electron and positron (matter).

Physicists at London’s Imperial College claim to have figured out how to prove the theory, using a photo-photon-collider.

Professor Steven Rose says:”What was so surprising to us was the discovery of how we can create matter directly from light using the technology that we have today in the UK. As we are theorists we are now talking to others who can use our ideas to undertake this landmark experiment.”

Meanwhile, the starship’s holodeck is another piece of Star Trek fiction that may one day be a reality.

Gizmodo reports that a man has created a version of the holodeck using an Oculus Rift and three Xbox Kinects.

Here’s hoping they can make it so.

Stuart O’Connor