Teleportation is the movement of objects from one place to another, more or less instantaneously, either by paranormal means or through technological artifice. Similar is apport, an earlier word used to describe what today might be called teleportation; and bilocation, when something or someone described as being a magician is said to be able to occupy two places simultaneous.
The technology is known as teleportation. It involves taking away the material properties of an object at one location and transferring the exact details of its configuration to another location where it is reconstructed. Today, scientists debate whether human teleportation as depicted by the Star Trek series is theoretically possible or even desirable, but over the last decade they have made great strides in the field of quantum teleportation.
Quantum teleportation is the transferring of tiny units of computer information, called quantum bits or qubits, from one location to another. The technology is referred to as a type of teleportation because the information teleported behaves more like an object than normal information.
It is quantum information, which cannot be copied and cannot appear at the new location without being destroyed at the old location,
Scientists treat quantum information as if it were an object. The fact that the information cannot be conveyed without first being destroyed also differentiates quantum teleportation from faxing a document, which makes an imprecise replica of the original at another location and leaves the original intact.
Until 1993, scientists considered teleportation impossible because it requires making an exact copy of every atom in an object, which goes against the so-called uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. According to the principle, the very act of measuring a tiny particle destroys it, so an exact replica can never be made.
Scientists have that the way around the problem is to rely on the concept of entanglement, an area of physics that Albert Einstein referred to as "spooky action at a distance."
"If two particles are entangled, they act in some respects as if they were a single object,"
Entanglement allows particles to have a much closer relationship than is possible in classical physics. If two particles are entangled, we can know the state of one particle by measuring the state of the other. For example, two particles can be entangled such that the spin of one particle is always "up" when the spin of the other is "down", and vice versa.
Scientists believe that this technology has practical applications in the field of quantum computing and quantum cryptology, technologies that hold promises for making computing both much faster and secure.
"The possible applications concern communication between future quantum computers and also between gates inside an individual quantum computer," said Anton Zeilinger, a physicist at the University Vienna in Austria who was part of the team that achieved quantum teleportation .
Wootters explained that the technology could allow computers to send the code to unlock secret messages between each without the fear of another computer intercepting the code or the code deteriorating as it traveled over conventional communications mediums such as a fiber optic wire.
However, Star Trek fans probably have a long wait ahead of them before they will be able to step onto a transporter and be whisked instantaneously to their desired location.
"With today's technology, only very elementary objects can be teleported," said Gisin. "Possibly, larger objects like a molecule will be teleported in my life-time, but really large objects are not teleportable using foreseeable technologies."
Scientists say there is simply too much information in a human that needs to be teleported to make this technology applicable.
A quantum computer is a device for computation that makes direct use of distinctively quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. In a classical (or conventional) computer, information is stored as bits; in a quantum computer, it is stored as qubits (quantum binary digits). The basic principle of quantum computation is that the quantum properties can be used to represent and structure data, and that quantum mechanisms can be devised and built to perform operations with this data.
Although quantum computing is still in its infancy, experiments have been carried out in which quantum computational operations were executed on a very small number of qubits. Both practical and theoretical research continues with interest, and many national government and military funding agencies support quantum computing research to develop quantum computers for both civilian and national security purposes, such as cryptanalysis.
If large-scale quantum computers can be built, they will be able to solve certain problems much faster than any of our current classical computers (for example Shor's algorithm). Quantum computers are different from other computers such as DNA computers and traditional computers based on transistors. Some computing architectures such as optical computers  may use classical superposition of electromagnetic waves. Without some specifically quantum mechanical resources such as entanglement, it is conjectured that an exponential advantage over classical computers is not possible.
'Teleporting' over the internet
Computer scientists in the US are developing a system which would allow people to "teleport" a solid 3D recreation of themselves over the internet.
Cameras would capture the movement of an object or person and then this data would be fed to the atoms, which would then assemble themselves to make up an exact likeness of the object.
They came up with the idea based on "claytronics," the animation technique which involves slightly moving a model per frame to animate it.
When you watch something created by claymation, it is a real object and it looks like it's moving itself. That's something like the idea we're doing... in our case, the idea is that you have computation in the 'clay', as though the clay can move itself.