In the TV series Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis we see both the Ancients and Asgard using both holographic projection and beaming technology. Which race, Asgard or Ancients invented the holographic projection tech and the beaming tech? Given that the Ancients were a much older race did the Ancients invent both techs and gave both to the Asgard who used and improved both techs?

  • 4
    I think it's probably fair to say that the Ancients invented everything.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 23:46
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    We don't know for sure, but IMO they developed the technology independently of one another without influence. I say this because the Asgard have access and knowledge of the Stargate technology, but from what we know they don't use it to the extent the Ancients did. They saw the appeal of having the tech available, but typically they would contact Earth from a ship and hologram. A couple times they came to Earth through the stargate and informed that they had no ships available or that the speed of gate travel was needed compared to using their ships. Other reasons as well, but all opinion...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 20:00
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    On Earth, many fundamental technologies had been invented/discovered independently by different civilizations: wheel, writing, ships, agriculture,... We are probably not very far to use holographic projection in real life.
    – Taladris
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 3:07

4 Answers 4


We don’t know for sure as it is never explicitly stated on the show to the best of my knowledge, however the most likely assumption would be the Ancients developed it first based on a comment from the Asgard’s:

You cannot even begin to comprehend the extent of what was unfolding in O'Neill's mind. Our scientists, long ago, extracted parts of the Ancient library of knowledge and learned much from it. But we have been studying it for as long as I can remember, and we have barely scratched the surface.


Source: The wonderful episode The fifth race.


I think Jason was on to something.

The Ancients had millions of years to invent things but this doesn't preclude independent invention or mean they were never beaten to the punch.

We see several races use unique versions of ring like transporter (that need a platform etc and only work linking two devices) like the Aschen transport pads but also the nameless aliens that took the Prometheus crew via a true "beam me up Scotty" beam complete with it's own distinct transporter effect. Did they know the Ancients too? Maybe, maybe not.

But we know Asgard and Ancients knew each other for a very long time, probably 90,000 years so they obviously shared info but I don't think the Ancients ever quite developed their transporter to the extent the Asgard subsequently did and I'll tell you why I think that.

We see a progression of the tech over time with rings giving way to the Lantean "elevators." Of course Atlantis is much older than 10,000 years but at least some of the Ancients that abandoned the Pegasus Galaxy went out into the Milky Way and we can surmise some of these are the ones who built the obelisk that transported the Sodan warriors between their village and Stargate. We see this exact tech again when Merlin is trying to build his anti-Ori weapon. It's also identical in function to the transporter built into Thor's Hammer way back when we first met the Asgard. But who came up with it?

We see no Ancient (or Ori) ships using full fledged Trek-style transporters like the Asgard's so it stands to reason they either never built ships on their return to the Milky Way, which is possible given the gate network and/or it was always the Asgard who came up with the transporter obelisk while the Ancients were away.

Either way the Ancients never needed to put it on a ship (and significantly boost range) making at least that part an Asgard innovation if only by default. Bottom line is that those Asgard transporters are something the Ancients never had and even the obelisk might have come from the Asgard.

Also, while the Ancients clearly had and used holograms there was no evidence they ever used them as long distance communication untill that Ancient warship passed Midway Station in SGA. But even then that communication was only one-way, as they couldn't hear a response that wasn't broadcast by radio.

If we assume that the Asgard sensors used for long distance beaming are also required to "hear" people talking to the holograms then I think that ties things up pretty well and we can safely say that both technologies only reach their current form with the Asgard.


The principal behind the technologies is the same. What makes them different is their effective range and buffer size.

The Ancients were concerned about safety and designed their transporter tech to swap matter from two different locations simultaneously to prevent rematerializing inside of an object or another person. Goa'uld transportation rings work exactly the same way, except with deadly moving parts. The stargates create an event horizon, and anything which crosses that plane gets scanned, dematerialized, transmitted, and rematerialized at another event horizon, at a speed relative to the speed they entered. The splash of energy that occurs before the puddle forms is a "safety feature" to ensure there's nothing blocking the way.

Wraith culling beams essentially do the same thing as the stargate's event horizons, except they store the material in a buffer and regurgitate it later instead of transmitting it to another device.

Asgard beaming tech removes all of the silly physical limitations of Ancient beaming tech and replaces them with highly advanced sensors and safeguard programming. The Asgard can therefore use their beaming technology to perform non-invasive surgery, mine minerals, move mountains, etc... They use it as their primary weapon, storing an entire army of Goa'uld and their ships, in the buffer, and presumably dumping them somewhere else at a later time. The difference between Asgard beaming tech and everyone else's can be explained by the fact that the Ancients either ascended or were conquered, while the Asgard continued to improve their tech for tens of thousands of years.

  • The question was who invented the technologies.
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 0:21

Simple answer is the Ancients, because they’re the perfect, all-knowing race in the series.

But the beaming technology of the Asgard is different from the Ancients'. If I am not mistaken the Goa'uld stole Ancients beaming technology and it's the rings.

  1. So maybe they both developed those ideas.
  2. Maybe they traded the technology.
  • 2
    This seems like a guess. Can you back it up with some sort of evidence?
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:32

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