Examples: Could it remove a cubic inch of material from the center of a bowling ball?

Could it remove and replace a single electrical component from the circuit board (which would require a complexly defined volume)?

  • 4
    I'm not sure who voted to close this, but the question of how precise a transporter can be seems very much on-topic
    – Valorum
    Jul 8, 2018 at 19:23
  • I don't know if it count as an answer but in Star Trek IV, they beam a volume of seawater around the whale.
    – dna
    Jul 9, 2018 at 8:59
  • Do they beam water or beam an object (whale) into water? Jul 9, 2018 at 13:22
  • Frankly, I am waiting for a transporter toilet. What a dream. Apr 16, 2019 at 15:32

3 Answers 3


Precision transports do seem to be possible, but are vanishingly rare and presumably prone to a high failure rate. The best examples I can think of are the Ferengi transporting Mrs and Miss Troi out of their clothes in TNG: Ménage à Troi

And the "fetal transport" performed by the EMH in VOY: Deadlock

Both require closely adjacent (or connected) volumes to be transported from within larger objects.

  • 1
    At the end of The Most Toys, O'Brien disables a weapon on someone being transported. I thought there was an example of them outright disarming someone (of their weapons, not of their arms...), but I haven't been able to find it.
    – Cadence
    Jul 8, 2018 at 20:16
  • @Cadence - Yeah and there are no end of example of locking onto DNA. I wanted to find instances of precision transport though.
    – Valorum
    Jul 8, 2018 at 20:18

Klingon transporters can, at least.

In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Scotty beams an exact volume of water along with

two humpback whales into the cargo bay of a Klingon ship.

We know he beamed a volume to an exact set of dimensions because otherwise the water, which can be seen through the transparent aluminium wall, would splash around to conform to the new container and would disturb the


  • I've changed the spoiler tags a bit, not sure if you need them at all really though, just so more of the answer is actually visible on first read. Not too sure what is and isn't a spoiler here though so if you disagree with the edit feel free to roll it back.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 10, 2018 at 15:31
  • @TheLethalCarrot It's fine, you're probably right and I wasn't sure i needed the spoiler tags either since the film is pretty old. I guess beaming water doesn't exactly give away the plot. Jul 10, 2018 at 15:33

I believe the transporter was capable of precision transport.

In the TNG episode Rascals, Captain Picard and three others are physiologically reduced to the age of 12 during a transporter mishap. Doctor Crusher eventually ascertains that their de-ageing is the result of missing viroxic sequences in their cellular RVN.

The episode is resolved with Dr. Crusher programming their original sequences into the transporter, which then manages to reconstruct them as adults.

I'm not entirely sure how the transporter does this, but it is implied in the episode that it could insert the missing sequences back into position. I'm slightly hesitant to accept that theory - such a control of transporter technology would have resulted in advances in transporter assisted medicine, engineering, construction, etc. (We have seen hints of this)

TNG era transporters also had a biofilter, by means of which a transporter could remove biological contaminants of humanoids as they were being beamed aboard.

The above are two instances of transporter precision; one deals with beaming matter into place, one deals with beaming matter out.

So, I believe that the transporter was fully capable of removing a cubic inch from a bowling ball, or a component from an electrical circuit.

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