I've got a new invention which I think could revolutionize the transportation of people and goods: it's a teleport unit, which can transmit matter from one portal to another regardless of what is in between the portals.

Unlike most teleports, though, it isn't instantaneous. It takes exactly as long as it would take the item being teleported to travel in a straight line between the portals, at the speed the item was introduced to the portal: if it is introduced at 60mph, and the exit portal is 60 miles away, it will appear an hour later, still traveling at 60mph. The item being teleported doesn't seem to experience the time, but just sort of skips over it - it's instantaneous from the traveler's point of view, just not the rest of the world.

The problem is in the marketing of this. Obviously, I can't advertise it as being useful for getting to last minute business meetings: it'll take just as long as travelling in a straight line would, even if you don't experience that time. Testing has shown that people tend to feel a bit uncomfortable if they're travelling in a fast vehicle that goes through a portal where there is a jarring change of light/scenery, so I'm thinking of taking on the container shipping industry. My plan is simply to push containers through the portal, on rails, so the drivers never need to go through either way. I can't help feeling I've overlooked something though...

  • It requires a portal at each end, but doesn't draw power beyond what a reasonable electric socket could provide (it doesn't need a power station to run, but can't be set up off-grid really) - this is a continuous draw, so needs to be applied for the full period of transportation, to both ends. It doesn't vary power consumption based on whether anything is going through the portal or not though, nor on the mass of the transported items.
  • Haven't found any particular limit to how big the portals can be, but things being sent need to fit through both ends (well, technically not... But only the bits that do get transported...)
  • Portals can't be moved while active - offline portals can be moved and reconnected, but anything sent to them while they are offline is lost. They can technically send or receive items, but they will come out scrambled and possibly incomplete. To avoid this, both portals should be stationary relative to a large gravitational pull - all testing has been using the Earth as the anchor, since I don't have any access to space. Don't see any reason why it couldn't be relative to a star or other planet though. Probably makes them less useful for interplanetary travel...
  • If something is part way through a portal and stops moving, you get part of it sticking out each end, once the transmitted part reaches the destination. Not sure what happens if you then push from both ends... It seems unlikely to be good.
  • If the power fails or is cut off, anything in the portal (e.g. has entered at one end and not yet exited from the other) is lost. Not sure where it goes - haven't found anything that suffered this fate yet. Stuff pushed directly into to an offline portal just goes through the space the portal encloses (like an open door). Stuff pushed into a portal where the other end is offline is lost.
  • They are bidirectional. Can put stuff in either end, and it comes out the other end, assuming the power is kept on to both portals at all times.

What's the best way to utilise this invention to get rich?

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    Heres a question: at some point an object, say a human, is halfway in the portal and halfway out. Half of the human does not experience time and half does. So wouldnt anyone die from going into the portal as suddenly bloodflow is haphazard at best and much of your signals are lost? You could solve this with "the portal's effect will flow x meters through solid+liquid matter upon a portion entering the portal", so that a finger in the portal instantly protects the entire human. – Demigan Oct 18 at 17:13
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    What happens if I hold I coin through in my hand for a moment, and then withdraw my hand? Hours later, my hand pops out the other side with the coin, and then someone swipes it, and now there's two coins? I think regardless of how you try to resolve that, you probably end up with causality concerns. – Mooing Duck Oct 19 at 0:03
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    You say the portals can't be moved, but in reality everything is always moving. Say you wanted to place portals on Diana or Mars. They are always moving, relative to the Earth. – Xavon_Wrentaile Oct 19 at 0:07
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    Can a portal be used by a second user when the first one is still in the process of going from sending end to the receiving? If yes - how are eventual conflicts on the receiving end resolved (an example - we have two portals 4 miles apart. One person enters the portal with speed 2 mph at 10 A.M., another person enters at 4 mph at 11 A.M. Easy math shows they'll both get to the receiving end exactly at 12 A.M. with different speeds - what is going to happen in such case?). Other question - are the portals uni- or bi-directional? – Ister Oct 19 at 8:45
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    What's a strait line at the surface of a moving sphere turning around a star turning around a galaxy itself moving in the universe ? – Kii Oct 20 at 13:00

33 Answers 33

up vote 99 down vote accepted

Some uses that came to my mind:

  • Use it as garbage disposal. Just push it to an offline portal. Especially useful for radioactive nuclear waste for example.

  • Use it as a time travel device to the future. Let's say you want to travel 100 years to the future, then just calculate how slow you would need to move into the portal so you end up at the other side 100 years later. Very useful for terminally ill patients that hope that a cure exists in the far future. Downside is that it needs to be powered all this time.

  • reduce infrastructure of utilities. electricity cables, internet cables, sewer pipes, water pipes, you name it. all these things can be connected from your house directly to the supplier through a portal.

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    The problem I see with your first point is if in 2 years time everything that was "lost" suddenly appears out of nowhere or something... Very bad idea until we know what happens to the "lost" stuff – Chronocidal Oct 17 at 12:55
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    @Chronocidal question asks for profit. Humans are known to profit from things well before every side effects are known. Think about X-ray machines for shoe fitting! – Mołot Oct 17 at 12:57
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    @Mołot Huh, and I thought you were kidding: shoe-fitting fluoroscope. – isanae Oct 18 at 13:06
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    The problem with using it as a garbage disposal, if the item never reappears, is that the elements that make up the item are just gone. No recycling. That's potentially bad if people are throwing away stuff we'd like to reclaim, like rare elements. For utilities... while it's true that infrastructure would benefit, the problem is that "division" of the resource is usually distributed, but now would best be accomplished closest to point-of-origin. Although you would have a bunch of power transfer stations that you wouldn't otherwise need anymore. – Clockwork-Muse Oct 18 at 15:55
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    Also, you just gave criminals an extremely easy way to get rid of bodies and other compromising evidences – Eth Oct 18 at 17:26

Perpetum mobile

Other answers aside, you could for example modify a hydroelectric power plant by placing an "input" portal below the turbines and an "output" portal above. Hey, infinite energy!

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    And use the elecricity produced to power the portal itself :) – Pavel Janicek Oct 17 at 11:40
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    +1 although the gravity would presumably constantly accelerate it leading to... – Orangesandlemons Oct 17 at 11:40
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    @Orangesandlemons i think there is a limit of speed something can get while falling. – Fez Vrasta Oct 17 at 13:29
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    The turbine would be a speed limiting factor. It is designed to take power out of the system, so that will automatically help prevent an out of control speed increase. If you tune the turbine to reduce the speed at exactly the same speed as gravity increases the speed, then you're golden. Most likely, though, the turbine will take more speed than gravity adds. – computercarguy Oct 17 at 14:44
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    We need clarification from the OP as to how much power is needed to operate the portals. If violating the laws of thermodynamics is allowed, this answer is perfect. If such a violation isn't allowed, this answer is incorrect. – JBH Oct 17 at 20:45

You have solved food preservation

Who needs a clunky old refrigerator that only slows the rotting and decay of fresh food? Just make it so your food doesn't experience time! Meet the new tele-preserver, which has the input and output portals side-by-side, and which constantly cycles the food into the portal unless the door is open. Your food is still reasonably accessible, but only ages for the fraction of the time that it's not in the portal, which could be made arbitrarily small (at the cost of accessibility). Fresh meat and produce can now keep for years, without any added preservatives!

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    Per the OP, if the input and output portals are side-by-side, the delay between them will be very small, as will the time-skip. The way to do it is to have two links, A-B and Y-Z. B and Y are joined face-to-face at some distance from A and Z. If food is introduced into A a 1 mph, and the B-Y pair are 1 mile away, the total trip time is 2 hours with no apparent interval for the food. – WhatRoughBeast Oct 17 at 14:17
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    @WhatRoughBeast That's a decent solution, but I'm thinking we'd need more frequent round trips, or else I might have to wait 2 hours to get a glass of milk from the telepreserver. You could also just have the food enter the portal very slowly, meaning it would still take awhile to travel between portals that are very close together. – Nuclear Wang Oct 17 at 14:26
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    Yeah, but then you have a slow transition between the two "open" ends which will cut down the efficiency. – WhatRoughBeast Oct 17 at 14:31
  • You could have both portals vertical, so you drop it down one and it flies up from the other. No need for a mechanism to move the food if gravity does the job. – JollyJoker Oct 18 at 13:34
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    @aslum - Actually, Larry Niven brought up that very point nearly 50 years ago in his essay "The Theory and Practice of Teleportation". It makes a jim-dandy perpetual motion machine capable of destroying worlds. (Hint - for a body travelling near c, not only does inertial mass, F = ma, increase, so does gravitational mass, F = Gm1m2/R^2. – WhatRoughBeast Oct 19 at 15:59

Congratulations! You just made container ships obsolete!

Container ship is the tool of transport when talking about bulk transport: Emma Maerskrsk container ship

Even if you ship goods at relatively slow speed of railway transport, you:

  • Actually made shipping goods faster, because you save time on unloading and re-loading cargo from and to ship
  • Made ton of savings on fuel, because if the portal runs "from the power socket" it is fraction of shipping cost
  • Also, you made shipping of goods ultra-safe and not reliant on weather (related question: What happens if I unplug the portal in the middle of transportation?)

Being at your place, I would contact some world-wide shipping company. They will pay you anything you ask, really

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    I think that in this case you can have several power outage solutions in place and still be cheaper than shipping the goods on the ship through (comparably more dangerous) ocean – Pavel Janicek Oct 17 at 12:04
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    Even assuming that it's easier to move items in large quantities, this is also quite green. Trucks, Trains, and container ships require a lot of fuel compared to pull from a standard electrical socket. Even if you have to have a vehicle drive through the portal, there's no emissions for... let's say... the entire Maine to Key West, Florida run of I-95. – hszmv Oct 19 at 19:10
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    Working in global logistics I can safely say that the sheer amount of cash generated by this would dwarf all other revenue-based applications besides the infinite-energy hydroelectric plant in the top answer. This would almost fully replace a $10 trillion global industry, especially if the portals are affordable enough that people can generally afford a smallish portal for their home. – Gramatik Oct 19 at 20:32
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    Environmentalists may also be happy; no oil spills in the ocean or other forms of pollution. So on top of the reduced liability risk to the shipping company, good PR. I expect the savings on other fronts would make up for the risk of lost cargo due to power loss. – jpmc26 Oct 19 at 22:18
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    @Aethenosity Done. Thanks for help! – Pavel Janicek Oct 21 at 19:15

Depending just how fast one can enter the portal you have just made every other form of transport obsolete for speed of transit. If one were to set up two portals in vacuum chambers and run a sealed bullet train between them then you could go from say London to New York at a thousand odd kilometers an hour ground speed, that's faster than Concord ever went, and with very little infrastructure since you only need a few kilometres of track for acceleration and deceleration rather than for the whole trip.

Furthermore you save more and more trip time the farther you're travelling since there is nothing suggesting that one cannot in fact point a portal in New Zealand at another in Spain and transfer goods directly. Trips can now be made through the planet potentially cutting tens of thousands kilometres of surface travel out of the trip.

  • If the velocity vector is conserved, the train coming out in New York is traveling close to straight up. – Sherwood Botsford Oct 24 at 13:12
  • Add reduced/no maintenance for hundreds of thousands of kilometers of railroads & highways. – Enric Naval Oct 24 at 17:07
  • @SherwoodBotsford and going quite fast and in urgent need of braking. What to do? What to do? – Harper Oct 28 at 7:01

If it uses the amount of power that one can draw from a household socket, the "no time experienced" part is almost as important as the "transport over distance" part.

If you point the ends of two of these portals at each other, you can create a loop that holds for as long as each portal is drawing power. Any object introduced into the system enters suspended animation. You can drop the item out of suspended animation by cutting the power to one of the portals.

You just solved the deep space hypersleep problem. You also have replaced certain types of refrigeration / freezing. There are also interesting things that could be done here in the criminal justice space.

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    Also (maybe) solve the interstellar transport problem. Teleport a teleport from behind to in front which then teleports the teleport which is now behind to in front ... no, it could never work ... could it? Might need a touch of Heisenberg compensation, or similar. – nigel222 Oct 17 at 13:57
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    -1 from me. According to OP if something is in transit and the power is cut, that something is lost (or potentially badly scrambled). I don't see how you can safely put something into perpetual transit and then "cut the power"... – Shaamaan Oct 18 at 15:05
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    Shaamaan: the idea seems to be to use two teleportation lines, with the object alternating between them (and the time taken for changing neglected). In that case, cutting the power of the unused one would drop the object out of the loop. – Zefiro Oct 18 at 16:23
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    Zefiro - Right. So the next time the object exits whatever portal tunnel it's in, there's no new portal opening for it to enter into. Loop broken. But the first portal is never depowered, so you don't get the catastrophic loss of the object or passenger. – tbrookside Oct 18 at 17:33
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    @DougR. - You are right, teleportation devices appear on several of Niven's "Known Space" Earth - The book A Hole in Space have four stories describing the evolution of teleportation and their impact on society ("The Alibi Machine", "The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club", "A Kind of Murder" and "All the Bridges Rusting") – G0BLiN Oct 21 at 22:37

On the "black market", it could be used to bypass customs, or immigration control, as a way of delivering illegal drugs or other controlled items.

Alternatively, militaries and similar organisations could use it to transport large numbers of troops, weapons and resources, e.g. across neutral or hostile territories without having to worry about treaties or negotiating access, or being detected, etc.

Also for humanitarian problems - people trapped in certain situations could escape (e.g. if they are under siege, or in a cave (depending on the portability of the device), etc.) or have important supplies delivered to them.

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    Okay, your second point is terrifying: Secretly buy a warehouse in your enemy's capital. Build a portal in it. Connect it to a portal in one of your military bases. Drop-kick a nuke through. Untraceable, with zero warning and zero accountability... – Chronocidal Oct 17 at 12:53
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    You don't even need to power your portal off the grid. A stationary bike can provide 400W power. You just need to find a vic ... lunteer. – John Dvorak Oct 17 at 14:05
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    Actually... my old laptop could run for 5 hours off of battery power, and it used 20W tops. Just whip up a Li-Ion battery from your back pocket and stick it to the portal. Even if the battery is dead in five seconds, that's plenty of time to push a nuke through, and even leave through the same portal again. – John Dvorak Oct 17 at 14:14
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    Bomber are also (mostly) obsolete. A plane or drone with one of these portals could drop an "infinite" amount of bombs, as long as the factory behind it and the aircraft's power supply can keep up. Spy planes are also obsolete. Use the same portal-drone and just stick a camera through to get a good aerial shot of whomever you want. If someone shoots down the plane, you're out the portal, but not the footage, camera, or still loaded bombs. – computercarguy Oct 17 at 14:52
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    @JohnDvorak - I think you'd need a lot longer than 5 seconds - both portals need power for the entire duration of the transport, which is at "normal" speeds. So you'd probably need a few hours to get your nuke all the way to the other side. – colmde Oct 18 at 7:49

Goods

You're thinking people, but moving people around is low volume and high cost relative to the profits to be made from moving goods. The railway companies have always wanted to stop transporting people for exactly this reason, even though moving people is the iconic purpose of railways.

You've added an avenue primarily for the movement of perishable, highly delicate goods, or even live animals. You're not going to be damaging or aging things in transit if they don't experience time on the way. Don't worry about speed, modern container ships are slower than the old sailing ships.

Your movement costs also seem to be considerably lower than normal shipping, what you've probably forgotten is TANSTAAFL, and this looks a lot like a free lunch.


Less profitable uses:

There are some interesting considerations in emergency response where an ambulance becomes a mobile portal, shove the patient in on pickup and there's no deterioration of the condition on the way to a hospital anywhere in the world.

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    I do like the ambulance idea: you'd probably want to keep it relatively local, so the ambulance doesn't have to wait ages while the transit is in progress, and also to minimize the risk of power outage related losses. – Matthew Oct 17 at 11:57
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    On the subject of Ambulances, this could actually be used for a sort of emergency stasis, especially if used in a loop. Have two portals on either side of the hospital, insert a critical condition patient (at a very slow speed), and have someone on either end moving them back and forth, giving the hospital staff precious time to prepare for surgery or run blood tests or something – reffu Oct 17 at 12:27
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    @reffu -- I think you would want the portals much further apart. Say 5 miles, then you can insert the patient at a walking speed and have 2 hours of stasis with only one round trip. I imagine you'd also use it for transfers between hospitals (each ER or urgent care would have portals to specialist centers for e.g. stroke, heart attack, etc., everyone gets to see a specialist and your waiting will be painless!). – user3067860 Oct 17 at 14:00
  • @reffu better yet, have two faraway hospitals co-operate. Cross-country should be fine, though you want international connections for the best effect. Or even a moon base. – John Dvorak Oct 17 at 14:00
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    This will also do wonders for the acute illness or trauma victim folks for whom there is no suitable transplant donor available. They can now more comfortably afford to wait while their new organ is grown from their own stem cells inside a suitable surrogate, a contemporary technology that didn't help these patients due to their expiration prior to organ reaching full growth. – N2ition Oct 19 at 0:40

The fact that the transported person does not experience time is a huge boon for medicine.

Put one portal in every ambulance, even if you need an extended electrical plug to the grid.

Emergency victims will not bleed out while on their way to the hospital.

Hospital patients could also be sent on multiple round trips to faraway places to gain time while, say, lab tests come back, or a rare medicine is sent in.

Heck, put hard cases on that dynamic stasis while their doctor goes home to sleep. No more risky handovers.

  • Per the question, you can't put portals on objects that move relative to the earth. – Ajedi32 Oct 19 at 16:48
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    @Ajedi32 Sure you can, you just can't use them. Ambulances don't return hot--if the patient is in danger you get what you can in medical information, take blood samples and then kick them through the portal at the scene. Kick them slowly so it takes a while to get to the hospital, when they pop out the correct specialists are on scene ready to act. – Loren Pechtel Oct 23 at 3:08
  • "Add time" fixes so many of life's problems. – fredsbend Oct 23 at 21:55

SPACE!

If we can get a portal up and running on any moon/planet/asteroid we want, we just saved trillions of dollars of effort to get large masses to those planets. Even if it takes months to get there, it'd be worth it purely for the fuel savings. Plus, if we send astronauts, we don't have to carry food for the journey.

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    This may violate the rule that the portals can not move while active. As everything in the universe is relative, I take it they can not move relative to each other, which they will not do if stationary on earth. If you put a portal on another planet or an asteroid, that portal may not move relative to that body, but it will move relative to earth. The only place you could potentially put a portal in space and have it linked to a portal on earth is in geostationary orbit – Suppen Oct 17 at 14:02
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    @Suppen , valid point. Even so, just getting things to geosync orbit is huge. ~90% of the fuel of a rocket is used just getting to LEO, let alone geosync. – Lynx Brutal Oct 17 at 19:13
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    Just set one portal up in geosynchronous orbit, then it does not move relative to the other one. You still saved absurd amounts for lifting stuff out of the gravity well. – Burki Oct 18 at 12:17
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    @jpmc26 As compared to rocket ships where one tiny thing going wrong still kills everyone, but there are about a million more ways in which that one thing could happen? – Perkins Oct 24 at 0:35
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    This is also a problem on Earth between continents because of continental drift. How slow is too fast for relative motion? – Jerry Jeremiah Oct 24 at 4:51

Instead of moving normal goods consider moving liquids, which can be pressurized, instead of building millions of miles of pipeline to move oil and gas, you just need a portal at production and another and distribution. as a bonus you eliminate 90% of spills.

this does not jut work for petroleum, consider how much time and energy we put into moving water around, pumping large amounts of water uphill will be a thing of the past.

Speaking of uphill, SPACE Put one portal in geostationary orbit, and you now have a space elevator without the need for a tether. getting to space just got cheaper than getting to cincinnati. Design it right and you can literally fall into orbit.

Extremely efficient transportation. The largest energy hog for say a train is keeping it going fast while air resistance is in play. Further the extensive rail and road network takes up a ton of materials and energy to build and maintain.

The easiest method to gain millions if not trillions is the space business. You would cut the energy requirements to get anything into space to less than 1/1.000.000th, and the lack of needing to survive the acceleration allows for cheap satellite and space object production. Even better: build a giant hole, suck the air out and drop your space object in it, it'll pass through the earth and be collected in space with practically zero energy cost, you could even generate energy with the objects fall!!! (just to be clear, the hole would have a teleporter at the bottom and not go through the entire earth).

Assuming the teleporters need to be straight opposite of each other (and assuming that movement of the planet, continental drift and solar system doesn't matter) your second best bet is transportation through the ground. For small stations you build a track that can be turned some degrees up, down left and right so you can aim it at different stations, then you launch the train-like object. Build a few to catch and release multiple trains at a time.

For large international stations You build a subterranean station with a giant sphere. The sphere has enough room to accelerate a train-like object. The train is boarded, placed in the sphere, then turns the entire track to aim it. You control the lighting and surroundings so its not as inconvenient for humans. A long enough track and sucking air out allows you to reach 7000km/h, although this is probably too large to work for a real busy airport-like area as it would need dozens of massive spheres to work so "Just" going a few hundred kilometers per hour and traveling in the straightest line ever conceived should work. As an alternative you could build the tracks in series, so a train could come rushing through multiple tracks in a row to its destination allowing it to accelerate and decelerate each time it reaches a station until its destination is reached. As an alternative for giant spheres you could use multiple substations that have a predetermined exit point. This is useful in the event that both sides of a portal need to remain active while something is in transit. You don't want your few tracks to be constantly empty and in use. So you have one "common" station that can be aimed at half a dozen substations. The common station is where the train is taken off the main track to board/exit. The train is then launched through a portal at one of the substations, there it will continue it's acceleration and then be send to it's destination without the main track being in use all the time. A big advantage is that while the track is in use to send, it could potentially also be used to receive without either train colliding with eachother. This would make these trains feel more like a rollercoaster: You are launched in a straight line, reach the substation that has a curved track that will point the train at it's destination while it accelerates. There could be a dozen rails going to the same destination next to each other each with their own portal.

Even with portals that have to be aimed at each other you still can create perpetuum mobilea, but you have to be smarter about it. For example you can launch something at 10km/h (or any speed you like) into space (or just a really high tower) where the mass is caught, then the mass takes an elevator ride down using its mass to push the elevator down while a lightweight other elevator is pushed up again (similar to most space elevator designs), generating electricity to launch the next object. We are talking about using multi-ton masses here of course to generate a good amount.

Additional bonus advantages: Faster internet. Currently we lose a ton of time sending information through cables to substations and servers around the world to finally arrive at the computer/server you want. This requires miles and miles of cables and information magic to streamline it. But if you have portals you can streamline this process a lot more.

Here's Lifi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li-Fi.

What you do is that each large server across the world is connected to the others not by cable, but by portals. You could try using cables through the portals but they would either have to be kilometers long or you would have to wait for the cable to reach the other end each time the connection was broken for some reason, so Lifi seems a safer bet. You put industrial-scale Lifi at the portal, and use it to communicate with the other server. This is the straightest and fastest connection you can make, as it would allow the server in DC to communicated directly to a large hub in Australia, going the shortest route through the earth without any intervening hubs or subrouters or whatever in the way. Considering that the Earth is 12.742km in diameter the maximum latency between any two main servers in the world would be reduced to 41ms. This would make playing a game against anyone anywhere in the world possible with maximum latency as large as that you would currently find playing on the same continent. To speed it up even more you could perhaps allow people to set up a router that can be calibrated to link directly to a portal near the main server... This would mean that people could realistically build one giant server on the world, have every single person aim a portal at it for internet and the maximum latency you would experience would be 82ms (plus a little for conversion at your PC, the server and the other PC). And this is assuming you are at the exact opposite of the planet compared to the server and the one you are talking to is sitting next to you meaning the signal needs to travel through the earth and then back through the earth. I mean holy crap that would be some awesome internet right? The biggest hurdle would be building a small portal for each individual connection, or somehow allowing multiple connections to use one portal and let the broad spectrum of light be the way you keep the signals seperated! I would expect it likely that in this scenario each continent would build it's own super-server for the internet.

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    This was kind of how I was envisioning them - stuff goes straight, in whatever direction it enters the portal, and the exit portal has to be in line. I don't want to modify the question at this point though, since it would invalidate other interesting answers. – Matthew Oct 17 at 13:57
  • @Matthew added some ramblings about possible internet improvement. – Demigan Oct 17 at 14:30

You would no longer need those long distance power transmission lines, purchasing huge swaths of land, and reducing the scenic value of the landscape.

Set up a portal at the power generating station. Set up a portal at the receiving end. Pass one end of the power line into the portal ... and stop when it is halfway in. Wait for the power line to come out the far end ... and stop. Connect generating station and loads to power lines. Turn on the power.

Of course, this assumes electricity will "jump" through the portal along the wire from the wire molecule just before the portal to the wire molecule just after the portal. Fortunately, electricity travels near the speed of light, so it would pass rapidly through the portal. You need a closed loop for electricity to flow, and it isn't clear the electricity can "jump" backwards along a second conductor through the portal in the reverse direction, but you could just make a second pair of portals for the reverse direction conductor, although you'd be restricted to DC power transmission. If current can flow both ways, you could do AC power transmission with just need one portal pair.

Along a similar vein, oil and gas pipelines would benefit immensely! Similar land purchase savings, scenic improvement. No fights about whether or not a pipeline can be built along a swath of land. No pipeline leaks damaging wilderness preserves. Cost of inspecting the entire length of the pipeline boils down to a couple of meters before and after the portal.


Tiny Hadron Collider (THC). Instead of needing a 27 km long ring, you could build collider in the space between two portals. Fire a particle into one portal, it comes out the other portal at the same speed, is accelerated by super conducting magnets, enters the portal, comes back out, is further accelerated. Instead of needing decades and costing billions to build, along with land purchase encumbrances, you could build one ... in one building? in a school classroom? on a table top?

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    If the portal fails, it would severe the line, destroying it. – jpmc26 Oct 19 at 22:30
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    @jpmc26 Power lines are damaged/broken/destroyed by weather events all the time. Repairing the portal segment would be easy; just pass a new set of conductors halfway through once the portal is reestablished. Much easier than locating where on the 500km line the fault occurred and getting the crew/equipment out to that spot. The drawback is the time — the outage could take 50 hours to repair if you can only “fling” the conductor through at 10km/hr. – AJNeufeld Oct 19 at 22:43
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    But power lines as they exist today are not vulnerable to temporary power loss. I think risking damage to the basic infrastructure because power is temporarily lost (even for a few moments) would generally be too high a cost to risk. It also means you have to tear down the infrastructure to do any kind of maintenance. – jpmc26 Oct 19 at 23:25
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    Perhaps rather than wire, have the electricity transfer through portal via ionic solution the entire portal sits within. Then only small portion of solution and power is lost and easy to replenish from either side. – N2ition Oct 20 at 12:49
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    @jpmc26 Given the portal powered from a “reasonable electrical socket”, I’m certain you could make a UPS with a backup generator at each end, to keep the portals open in event of a temporary power loss. In addition, the power grid is a grid; not just 2 points connected by a single link. If link A-B goes down, usually power can still be delivered through A-C-B, or from a different generation facility D-B. “B” will not be left without service. That is with today’s interconnected grid; with power line portals, the # of links can increase; cost of a portal failure is 2 metres of wire & time. – AJNeufeld Oct 20 at 17:04

This invention could be used at intersections to make them safer and more efficient. We already have power to many major intersections to run stoplights, so we could instead power a portal on either end of the intersection to prevent needing to slow down or stop at the lights. There would probably need to be separate portals for the turn lanes (and a safety precaution to ensure that those turning don't spawn into a car going straight), however.

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    Or... bridges? Less chance of disappearing people. – wizzwizz4 Oct 19 at 18:19
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    When I consider the safety ramifications shudder. – Joshua Oct 19 at 20:50
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    @Joshua In the US alone, there were 37,461 traffic deaths in 2016. There were also ~6,000 pedestrian deaths in 2017. In both cases, about 20% occur at intersections. So if fewer than ~8000 are killed each year by power loss, we still come out ahead. – Ray Oct 21 at 14:56
  • I would just have a portal directly to the parking lot of my work, or directly into my office. The money I save on fuel, insurance, and car maintenance would make my life better. Also no icy roads to contend with. – cybernard Oct 21 at 18:46
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    Turns are no problem. The only way onto that piece of road is through the portal. The only danger is running into an accident you didn't see--you put a camera & radar above the exit portal wired to a red light above the entry portal. If the exit isn't clearing properly the red light lights and drivers know to slam on the brakes because the road is blocked. – Loren Pechtel Oct 23 at 3:12

What's the best way to utilise this invention to get rich?

Hibernation

"The item being teleported doesn't seem to experience the time, but just sort of skips over it - it's instantaneous from the traveler's point of view".

So, you want a one-way trip to the future? How many years do you want to jump? Just enter one portal on a vehicle which moves 1cm per year and you'll be out of the portal 1m apart 100 years after! without getting old! That's amazing!

You can sell this service for sick people which current technology cannot cure but maybe future technology can. You can always re-enter the portal for another 100 years if the technology is not advanced enough yet.

Space colonization

Send to another planet a probe at whatever speed you're able to, and make it build an exit portal at the destination point, then send humans or machinery there, it wouldn't matter how long they take to get there, they'll still be young, strong and ready to colonise the planet.

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    I suppose the flaw with this is your back up power generator. You will be 'lost' forever if there is a power cut. 100 years is a long time to ensure you have a fully functioning power source with no risk of damage. – Smeato Oct 18 at 16:07
  • You know @Smeato There's no such thing as a free lunch ;P – Paula_plus_plus Oct 18 at 16:10
  • Well hey, if you never come out the other end, painless death. Aaaand now I have my answer for this question... – Martin Carney Oct 19 at 18:26
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    If you go that slow you'll waste your whole life just getting into the portal. For that matter, if you go slowly head first, will your body starve? For that matter, if two objects enter the portal at the same time but at different speeds then they will emerge out of sync, so slow human transport is deadly due to async blood flow. For that matter, atomic transport is impossible due to async particles. – amI Oct 20 at 5:09

Time Travel for Terminally Ill

Forget cryogenic freezing, this is literal Time Travel, albeit in only a single direction. And yeah, maybe the process is slightly unpleasant, the disorientation do to differing locals can be mitigated as mentioned in other answers. However you coudl send folks through at a slow speed and over a long distance... Got cancer, and only 3 months to live? Bampf, take a trip, very slowly, over a moderate length, come out a year later. If science hasn't progressed enough to cure you, back in for another year. Repeat until your malady is solvable.

Bonus Time Travel uses

You could also send produce into the future. Everything is now in season year round, transportation is minimal cost, and spoilage is largely not a factor anymore.

Perpetual Motion/energy Production

Finally, with the proposed energy expenditure it's fairly easy to not just get free energy, but create energy. In fact, with a little ingenuity you could embed a smaller version of one of these inside each machine, that would provide enough energy not just for itself but for the machine it's inside.

Orbital Correction

Depending on how you place them around your planet, and when you use them, you'll have a small effect on the momentum and spin of your planet. If they're equally distributed the effect will mostly cancel out, but if you positioned your self-powered portals (see point 3 above) strategically around the planet, and powered them intentionally with calculated timing you could change the orbital speed of the planet, as well as shift the orbit. We're talking very slow change here but it might be enough to compensate for global warming/ice ages by shifting the planet's orbit slightly ... Don't forget to shift any moon(s) your planet has as well. Additionally you could make the daily rotation match between all your planets which would aid interplanetary coordination. -Hat tip to @Perkins

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    Do note that "graviportal" energy isn't entirely "free". When an object falls because your planet is pulling on it, the object is also pulling on the planet (albeit a proportionally smaller pull.) Better balance them around your world or you'll eventually shift its orbit! – Perkins Oct 24 at 0:40

Guaranteed Humane Execution

Since anything in transit between two portals is lost when one portal loses power, you have a way to guarantee successful, painless execution, with the added bonus of body disposal. No one can argue that it's inhumane, so that problem with executing criminals is entirely eliminated.

Botched executions would amount to the portal failing before entry, which has no nasty side-effects. And a last-second stay of execution would be possible even after the executee enters the portal...just don't turn it off, execution stopped.

I mean, there'll be hippies complaining that "lost" isn't the same as "ceasing to exist" or "instant atomization". They'll have crazy theories that there's an alternate dimension or whatever where the "lost" stuff goes. But that's just crazy.

  • No, a botched execution would be losing power with the body only halfway in. I'm fairly certain that will have nasty side effects. – jpmc26 Oct 19 at 22:29
  • Oh I know that. But that's between you and me, we don't want those hippies getting in the way of our new business... – Martin Carney Oct 19 at 23:11
  • Guaranteed? Hard to say, since we don't know what's between portals. – fredsbend Oct 23 at 22:01

This might even be better than traditional teleportation. Because with the asymmetrical passing of time, you can improve and/or engineer...

Preservation
Put your leftovers in one end and give them a small tap. They'll stay warm and fresh for hours! Shipping in seafood from the coast? It'll be as tasty as if it were caught an hour ago!

Time-based security
Not only does the new safe at the bank only open once a day, but it's only in our physical world once a day! No cracking this one!

Medicine
No need to rush to the hospital. Just check the next available appointment and send them in with the appropriate speed! Patient needs a kidney in 24 hours? They now have all the time in the world!

Time travel
If you're willing to take the risk of a power outage, just casually stroll inside and exit in about three years. Not far enough? Just turn around and go back in!

Planck-definition audio and video
Light travels too* and of course so does sound, so just put both ends behind a simple glass barrier with little holes in it to let sound out! You'll need to power it off to change "camera" angles but this would be perfect for surveillance.

*Sort of

The use of electrical or optical traces through micro portals would allow for reliable long distance secure communications. It could replace all EM based transmission mediums (cable, radio, laser, etc).

This application alone would yield you more money than you could spend in a 100 lifetimes.

Interplanetary and interstellar travel. Sure it might be slow for the real world but it's fast for the travellers and it's far safer than actual space travel.

Once established, you can mine H3 from the moon to solve the energy crisis or metals from Mars. Dump toxic/nuclear waste on Pluto.

Dump a gate in space and you can build space stations quickly and cheaply.

The uses are endless.

From another point of view, you can make good disapear temporarly! Nowadays, on some industries, like the automotive industry, stocks don't exist because they have costs, everything arrives "just in time". With your techonology there would be a revolution in logistics, either by making products appear directly on productions lines on the other side of the world and making stocks possible again.

  • Electricity "needs to be applied for the full period of transportation", so stocks would be costly this way, too. "If the power fails or is cut off, anything in the portal (...) is lost." so the insurance would be costly, too! Please, pay attention to details in question, and if you believe they do not apply, explain why, please. – Mołot Oct 17 at 12:11

Those portals are still very great tools for:

  • Tunneling through enemy territory (Think of the location of West Berlin during the cold war and the Berlin Blockade).
  • Avoiding customs stations except there is a customs' office at each portal. When you can make really many of them, customs and toll will become meaningless because they are so easily circumvented.
  • No traffic jam
  • There is no need to spend money for walls on borders because they are easily by-passed

I could see this replacing parcel service. Think about each household having a delivery portal assigned an address. The portal outputs to a cushioned box the size of a few large packages. The local post office has input portals for each address (like PO boxes, but a bit bigger). The postal person just shoves your stuff into it and presto... you have mail. Each local post office could have an input portal from the distribution hub that is the larger-scale version of household delivery. Upstream from that it may become complicated, but... at least for last-leg delivery, it could put Amazon's drone delivery to shame. If the input box at your address was padded enough, the packages could even be sent at fairly high speeds (slower for fragile packages). A green light red light indicator could be used on the input side to show that it's "safe" for another parcel to go through if a slow-moving fragile parcel was already on it's way. Blast bills through using a modified ball chute or pitching machine.

  • Efficient and clean waste managment, as opposed to landfill. Especially useful for getting rid of dangeorous waste (medical, radioactive, toxic...) Just make portal endpoints far enough and slowly push trash in. Then, before trash starts coming out, turn off the portals. Typically human :-(

  • Revive a space program. You just need to invest in one regular successful launch to get one portal on moon. After that, you have a safe and cheap way to get stuff on moon, where you can then move your factories, space vehicles etc. and get much easier and cheaper access to space from there (lower gravity pool). From there human race can expand and avoid extinction. And I'd buy into vacation on Mars!

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    Why put it in the bottom of a gravity well when you don't have to? Put an exit portal in geosynchronous orbit and save 90+% of the fuel cost to get to any other destination. For many missions the payload would be little more than another portal and a power supply for it, so your fuel gets you even further. And you could refill/replace your fuel tanks as needed to achieve near-constant acceleration towards your destination. – Martin Carney Oct 19 at 18:41
  • @MartinCarney yes, but I'm not 100% sure if it violates "both portals should be stationary relative to a large gravitational pull" rule (although geosync should probably be ruled ok) – Matija Nalis Oct 20 at 8:43
  • It really depends on why both portals must be stationary. Maybe their energy usage grows exponentially with their relative motion, such that a little movement results in tripping the breaker on a standard outlet. And stationary relative to what? Each other? Or the center of gravitational pull? – Martin Carney Oct 22 at 20:33

As far as "normal" applications would go: Worldwide shipping (especially for heavy goods)!

If you go exactly from one side of the earth to another, the portals would be on par with planes even if you send the goods far slower (and if you build a high speed train through it you would be much faster) than planes (that go around the earth) all while saving ENORMOUS amounts of fuel.

Also for the more shady side of this: smuggling.

These of course would be far less profitable than the more "cheating" proposals of other answers. [Well unless you smuggle tons of cocaine directly from the plantation to major US cities]

Here's an interesting side project you can setup that has the option to be extremely profitable as an adjunct to the basic teleportation system.

Extremely accurate speed devices. These are small vehicles, possibly with extremely large motive force, think the land bound equivalent of a tug boat.

The reason for these is that with the correct computation of distance and speed, you can time the moment of delivery as accurately as you want, based on setting entrance speed as accurately as you can.

The longer the distance, the greater accuracy of speed needed to get the same temporal maximum error.

This has the possibility of becoming known as the "Dgnuff uncertainty principle", which states that "The product of distance and absolute temporal error margin is inversely proportional to the accuracy of the entrance speed."

You've invented a wormhole which will allow you to send information to the other side of the planet faster than all other people? Folks have literally made billions of dollars in the stock market by being able to predict fluctuations or balance two markets a fraction of a second faster than the 'other guy'.

You don't even need to worry yourself with messy predictions... you're shooting what's actually happening in the Asian market to the States faster than any one else (they have repeaters (eg. delay) and a longer path to transverse, through medium which isn't going at the speed of light.) Your automated buy/sell processes kick a clock cycle earlier than theirs, and you're rich.

So get your low latency, free-space optics transceivers set up and start taking it to the Man!

Wait? Humans can survive this portal but it takes time to end up half-sticking-out the other end.

Tell me the physical laws by which this works and I'll tell you how to build a backwards time machine.

It's immediately obvious something is up with this because of the delayed response with a push or pull while half-way through but the person doesn't die of being bisected ergo blood flow is working normally.

  • I think the backwards time machine needs more expansion to be an answer to the question. – Joshua Drake Oct 19 at 21:44
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    @JoshuaDrake: It's breaking certain laws of physics in a way that is always equivalent to backwards time travel, without knowing how it works we can't say how to exploit it. – Joshua Oct 19 at 21:47

Very cheap storage. "Don't need that sofa for a few years but don't want to get rid of it? We'll send it to Mars and back and you don't have to have a storage shed!"

  • Except you can't get it back early, and every x months you need to decide of you want it now or if you want to send it back in for another trip. Not very useful if you ask me. – fredsbend Oct 23 at 22:10

New "Portal Sleep Pod Commuter and Travel Suites" Industry

Within a practical distance, people will be able to live and commute much farther distances between work and play. If they choose to, they can kiss their loved ones good night and head off to work at the same time. They'll pack a bag, go to the local portal sleep pod (PSP) suites and swipe their paid ticket or membership badge. They stow their bag and hop into a nice comfy bed/portal pod, set their alarm, and snuggle in for a good sleep. They wake up when their alarm goes off in whatever location programmed in for that trip, be it business or pleasure. Because they were asleep, they are fine with feeling no time had passed at all, and they weren't aware of any uncomfortable scenery change.

The badge links them to a preprogrammed destination and preset timing that is personalized for how long it takes them to fall asleep. The beds are on a track that can simulate motion so as they fall asleep they won't notice the actual movement to and through the portal. Light sleepers will just use the usual sleep aids.

The PSP suites wil come in different varieties and brands according to budget and style preferences, and a customer's "stay" will include access to a shower room and toiletry areas, gym equipment, and complimentary breakfast or lunch buffets or other dining options.

protected by James Oct 18 at 14:25

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