Spirit Displacement Device
This device of Austrian metaphysicist Franz Snell greatly simplified the process of human space transport by eliminating the physical element. Those employing this device, created in 2246 AD, were able to traverse great distances within our galaxy via metaphysics. Along with its creator, the device has largely been blamed for the disappearance of many prominent figures from mid 23rd-century Earth.
The Science behind the Device
The device was based on Transanimation, which itself derives from Idea Transport Theory. According to these theories as worked out and evolved by Snell, human consciousness itself could be projected systematically. Snell alleged that persons throughout history had in fact been able to do this, but accidentally, though only for a short period, as the energy requirements are too high for extended unassisted transanimation.
It is notable that persons diagnosed with Schizophrenia tend to score significantly higher on the Transanimation Aptitude Rubric (TAR), a civil service exam for compatibility with the SDD, leading to speculation that the schizophrenic brain may be somehow wired advantageously for metaphysical dissociation.
Operation of the Device
At the core of the SDD is an high-energy magnetic coil. This coil bathes the user's brain in a rich field of magnetic energy which augments the brain's natural energy transmission capabilities.
Once in the device, the user meditates on the nature of thought and space, until he or she comes the realization that distance is an illusion, and matter and energy are merely information. At this point it is possible for a trained user to transmit his consciousness through an apparently unlimited amount of space. The manifestation at the destination varies widely between transanimators. Some are only able to attain a state of passive information collection; i.e. reception of light, sounds, sometimes even smells, but with no physical manifestation. Others are able to metaphysically assemble a shadow, or a slight haze, sometimes sounds. The most advanced transanimators are capable of projecting a full illusion of existence, while in only one or two known cases, a transanimator has been known to assemble a fully physical being of flesh and blood at the transanimation destination.
It is estimated that around 20% of the population will never be able to achieve transanimation, and only about 0.01% can achieve fully corporeal manifestation.
After small-scale tests proved that the device could function over a limited range, it was immediately clear that centuries (perhaps millennia) of metaphysics were in dire need of correction, specifically the understanding of the body-soul problem.
Early tests of the device ended in tragedy, when Ernst Schnickel, a graduate student in philosophy working under Snell, accidentally thought of a paradox while the device was activated. He was instantly killed, although some scientists postulate that the recursive metaphysics of the thought may have in fact fully severed the connection between his mind and this spacetime, allowing his consciousness to roam freely through parallel universes. There is no concrete evidence to support this theory. The development of Psycholinearity Circuitry, known as the "Schnickel Damper", prevented future such incidents.
Ethical Issues of the Device
Immediately prior to his disappearance, Snell embroiled himself in controversy by claiming that he was on the verge of pioneering Consciousness Supervention, whereby the consciousness of one person could be projected or superimposed upon that of another by using the device.
The SDD also posed new possibilities for invasion of privacy. Soon after the SDD was brought into mainstream use, Deanimation agencies began to appear. Deanimation is a process whereby a SDD user concentrates on constructing metaphysical barriers to prevent unwanted transanimation. Global deanimation services currently employ thousands of transanimators, shielding nearly 70% of private residences from unwanted metaphysical incursion.
Due to the potential issue of cross polar imaginization, a SPD should never be operated in the near vicinity of a Freezerwave.