Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Transported Man

Watching The Prestige, I considered the magic trick called The Transported Man, where the magician appears to move across the stage in about a second - fast enough to catch a thrown object (in the case of the movie, a rubber ball or a top hat). While the most obvious method is to use a double, I did some quick calculations and came up with the following.

If it is considered "safe" to accelerate a human body at up to 10g, or 98m/s/s, and you accelerate at that rate for half a second, then decelerate for another half a second, you can travel up to 24.5 metres away, which is more than enough to "transport" yourself across the stage quickly enough to catch the ball or hat. You need a machine to do it, and a way to hide both the machine and yourself (and the machine's noise) during transport, but you would take off from standing still and arrive standing perfectly still too. So I believe a suitably ingenious magician could pull off a real-life version of the Transported Man without a double, but it would require some very heavy, expensive, custom-built machinery to do it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - He might just arrive a little less composed than when he started.
PPS - And, depending on the effects of acceleration, a little less conscious.

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