Star Trek: 10 Things You Need To Know About Transporters

It's one of the few pieces of tech from Star Trek that has yet to be invented. Or, is it?

Star Trek Transporter

The transporter is probably the most fantastical element of Star Trek's vast inventory. Created back at the time of the pilot, The Cage, this miracle device allowed crews to vanish and reappear instantaneously in another place, allowing huge distances to be traversed quickly, and huge budgets to be slashed.

The device dissolves matter down to the sub-atomic level, stores it, transfers it, and rematerializes it at the desired destination. Conspiracy theorists would argue that industries like aviation and motoring are holding back any development of the tech, as it would kill them both overnight.

But that's none of our business.

How has the transporter affected Star Trek, and other properties, through the years? Trek is far from the only property to utilize beaming, even if it was the instigator. Shows like Stargate have run with the tech as well, honouring the franchises that came before, while putting their own spin on it. How does it work? Who can we thank for the transporter itself? And before we even get into any of that - let's address one of the most famous misquotes in all of popular fiction.

10. They Were Invented To Save Money And Time

Star Trek Transporter

The earliest pitches for Star Trek had to deal with the challenge of getting the crew down to the planets each week. Support shuttles were suggested, as was landing the Enterprise itself, though both would have proven prohibitively expensive in the beginning. So, the producers were backed against a wall and came up with the idea of the matter transporter.

This became part of the pitch, and part of the reason that Star Trek was given the green light - twice. It helped sell The Cage first of all. Now, rather than committing to large-scale models for a pilot that may or may not take off (spoiler: it didn't), this fantastic new technology could be used instead. When The Cage failed to make any traction, the show was given a new pilot - Where No Man Has Gone Before - though it was actually The Man Trap that helped Star Trek survive.

The depiction of the transporter in this episode excited the network so much that they bumped it up for broadcast, meaning that it was shown to audiences - before the first episode.

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Writer. Reader. Podcast Host. I'm Seán, I live in Ireland and I'm the poster child for dangerous obsessions with Star Trek. Check out my weekly podcast on all things....well all things film! Check me out on Twitter @seanferrick or at the website