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There are always these circular spots in the transporter rooms on which the teleported people appear and where they wait for the teleportation to happen.

(Image from Ex Astris Scientia).

These spots don't make a lot of sense since many episodes show that it's possible to transport much bigger objects than human, and more people than there are spots for. I couldn't find anything about it.

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    In TNG, the middle was a "spot" too, making the whole platform one big, segmented transporter. – jayjloy Aug 19 '11 at 14:44
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    Although not cannon, in at least one book (TOS, Great Starship Race?) they mention that beaming from Pad to Pad is much safer, and uses much less energy. This makes a lot of sense: imagine deconstructing a car in car factory with lots of tools then reconstructing it in the desert with nothing. So, presumably, those pads help, making the process more efficient/safer/faster/etc, but are not strictly necessary. – Willfulwizard Sep 15 '11 at 23:13
  • possible duplicate of In Star Trek - What's the Point of the Transporter Room? – SQB May 14 '14 at 6:19
  • Based on the answer, this seems a duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/q/5589/19561 to me. – SQB May 14 '14 at 6:20
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It's never been officially stated, but there have been times when transportation of people close together was difficult - they had trouble separating their signals. It's likely that the spots are designed to ensure separation of individuals, to provide easier lock-on.

It's also likely that by TNG, this is simply a tradition which no longer is absolutely needed - they show a much greater utility in their transporters than TOS ever did.

Still, like the US Marine's dress sabers, the transporter pad markings remain - for historical value, if nothing else.

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    Also, it is really convienent for actors as marks for scene composition. – OghmaOsiris Aug 17 '11 at 20:05
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    and they look good when they go all glowy – HorusKol Aug 17 '11 at 23:47
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    Presumably they also act as pattern enhancers, much like the rocket-looking ones in other parts of the show. They increase the range and safety of the system. – DampeS8N Aug 18 '11 at 11:18
  • nice. blocking dots, OghmaOsiris ! – MarsJarsGuitars-n-Chars May 17 '18 at 19:47

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