teleportation, in science fiction, the process of instantaneously transporting a person or an object between two points, usually by disappearing from one place and reappearing at a second place as a perfect copy by means that resemble or use radio signal tranmission and reception. The "science" that makes this possible is usually glossed over, but it is generally implied that the teleporting system functions as a large, three-dimensional facsimile (or fax) machine that scans, transmits, and reassembles the person or object being sent. Unlike the fax analogy, the original is almost always destroyed during transmission. In those stories in which the original is preserved, the plot becomes difficult to manage when the original and its replica meet. In 1993 an international group of six scientists confirmed that teleportation is possible in principle, but only if the original is destroyed.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.