Could your VoIP servicer provide you with teleportation services in the near future? This week, physicists have been successful in achieving a new quantum teleportation record using telecommunications technology. VoIP services are constantly evolving to make long distance communication more convenient and personal. SMS has granted us instant communication in the form of texts, and the introduction of video calls, a la Skype, saved tons of relationships for long distance lovers. So what’s next? Teleportation? It’s not as crazy as you think.
A study published by Optica reports that physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) broke the “teleportation” record by transferring quantum data across over 60 miles of fiber optic cable. How soon will you be speaking to a BoIP (Bodies over IP) provider?
Sadly, the technology is nowhere near the point to allow us to explore the final frontier of instant human travel. However, Martin Stevens, co-author of the NIST study, says that quantum teleportation will revolutionize communication security with a new method of data encryption.
“A quantum Internet could allow you to establish communications channels that are much more secure than what we have with the standard encryption protocols we use every day nowadays.”
- Martin Stevens
Although you won’t be able to skip rush hour traffic in the near future, there’s hope that your embarrassing Snapchat photos will never be leaked.
Tangled Up In Blue
As explained by How Stuff Works, this method of “teleportation” relies on a phenomenon called “quantum entanglement” in which a photon, or an atom, is directly linked and influenced by another regardless of the distance in-between. Once one of the entangled photons are sent away, a third data encrypted particle is added to the process. The data on this newly introduced particle meets with the present one and the entangled partner instantly receives the message. This process is very similar to traditional means of communication that you can get from your VoIP provider, like fax or telephone calls.
Sound too good to be true? (Or too confusing?) Take a look at this visual representation. Seeing is believing.
Unfortunately for the trekkie in all of us, teleporting humans is much less practical (and possible). Since the human body is made up of 1028 atoms, billions and billions of atoms must be replicated into an exact copy of the original body. There’s plenty of room for error here, and one missing atom could result in horrific disfigurement and neurological disorders. Forgetting your grocery list will be the least of your worries once you step out of that teleporter.
Another large setback to instantly traveling in a beautiful glow of light, is that the particles must be detected at temperatures just one degree higher than absolute zero. So unless you’re going to the ice planet of Hoth with your Tauntaun, I’d rule this method of transportation out.
While you won’t be living out your fantasies of beaming down to unexplored planets, or beating the morning bus route, quantum teleportation is one giant leap for data security. As a method of communication, don’t be surprised if you hear the term “quantum computing” from your VoIP service provider. Just don’t expect to be shot through their optic cables anytime soon. Until next time, live long and prosper.