I realize that this thread hasn't been posted in for a while, but seeing as I can resist talking about future technologies, and I just found this, I can't resist trying to add something to this topic!
There are 4 different ways that I can see this technology being theoretically possible, but not all of them would work as well as others due to inherent flaws in physics.Method 1. Antimatter
Chris_CE wrote:That said, I'd still want some kind of background story pertaining to the tech for this
Ok, my take Cybruiser57Péter. If I were to wrap that around plausible mumbo jumbo, in one word, I'd say "antimatter
The phase-out pickup alters GRIP's vehicules fuel by turning their overpowered engines into particle accelerators. Collisions between particles and antiparticles lead to the annihilation of both, giving rise to variable proportions of intense photons, progressively turning cars into light until antimatter has no car-matter to destroy.
The anti-car handles the same since antiparticles have the same mass as particles of ordinary matter but only opposite charges (our phase-out). Passing a certain saturation threshold, Feynman–Stueckelberg's theory of antimatter-traveling-backward-in-time prevails; returning the car to its original state
An icon for that could be the atom symbol:
or a logo version of a particle accelerator to underline the tech used:
Theoretically, you are right, given the kind of technologies we are dealing with here, one could easily imagine being able to 'convert' a matter entity to an antimatter one with (shockingly) nothing more than a built in particle accelerator (or an external one... something kept outside the vehicle... like on the side of the track or in a drone or something). Also, assuming that technology has advanced as far as it has, one could even believe that such a conversion could be done controlled enough that the car wouldn't just explode half way through and fast enough to see this as even being viable.
Also, as stated, the anticar would be identical in every single way to its pre-converted self in handling, speed, strength, ect... however... there is one massive problem with this theory and its that opposite charges attract.
Pretending that the Earth (or whatever planet we are driving on for that matter) is magically just not brought into this equation, as soon as theoretical contact is made with another vehicle that is NOT in this antimatter state, the vehicles would start to phase through each other. Well perfect! What's the problem? Well... as soon as the first layer of atoms starts to phase into the first layer of anti-atoms, the electrons, positrons, protons, antiprotons, neutrons, and antineutrons would all start annihilating each other into pure energy... and given the amount of mass that would then all start reacting with each other (considering how violent collisions usually are in these races and knowing the E=mc^2 equation being more relevant here then most times) the amount of energy given off would probably be enough to level the entire solar system, never mind the person that you just hit... they wouldn't even make it long enough to know you hit them.
Theoretically, they could probably control the impact zones and convert matter to antimatter and back again at will to keep this kind of stuff from happening, but then if the collision zone were converted back into matter, then a collision would happen just as if nothing were converted at all... well... that would be kinda pointless.Method 2. Light Crystals
Ok, this might sound a bit nuts, but recently scientists have managed to convert 'light' into crystalline structures by entangling the photons with regular atoms. The photons actually became so entangled that they began to show the properties of normal matter like 'mass' and actually bonded with the normal matter that it was originally entangled with in the first place. Thats awesome.
Fast forward 500 to 1000 years (or however far off GRIP takes place... I don't actually know) and this technology could develop to the point where we could not only build entire quantumly entangled light cars, but control the states that the light is in on the fly. As far as I know they achieved this with lasers and superconducting materials. It also is not hard to imagine the discovery of room temperature (or warmer) superconducting materials in the far flung future either. Alright so imagine this...
When one car is phased out, it would have the ability to switch between matter and light at will. This would take an insane amount of power, but then again, it is a timed power up, so limited power reserves actually make this make a little more sense. As you come into contact with another car, your car will fire a laser at the given entangled molecules of your car (too keep from accidentally un-entangling the opponent's car, I suggest we all use different entanglement frequencies... either that or this goes from being a power up to being the best weapon in the game being able to molecularly deconstruct your opponent's car at will). As you begin to phase into the other car, your car is technically not even there any more... it physically does not exist as matter... the light particles just fly away... when part of your car exits the other side of the opponent's car, the laser then has its work cut out for it to not only supply all the photons necessary for reconstruction, but to align all the photons in the exact manner that it disassembled the car and then re-entangle them all to fully reconstruct the car 'on the fly.'
Oddly enough this would also solve our damage problem that we were discussing in another thread as each time the car would rebuild itself... why would it NOT rebuild itself with a new, undamaged structure? I see no reason why it would rebuild itself being broken or damaged again. That would just be a waste.
You can see why this would take an insane amount of energy... reconstructing a car from nothing but lasers? There's your light show ladies and gentlemen. This is what that would pretty much look like when two cars are phased into each other...
An inherent problem with this method of course is if you completely deconstruct one of your tires by perfectly phasing it into the opponent's tire of the exact same size, you will technically lose any support that that tire was giving you... Your car would effectively become a tricycle and lose balance rather easily. Or imagine phasing into an opponent car far enough to deconstruct your engine? Well... that would be one hell of a mess... Or even worse... phase into another car so perfectly that your entire car was deconstructed! What do you have to build off of then?! Your car would, effectively, not exist anymore... not cool.Method 3. Dark Matter
As we currently understand it... we don't understand it... is it a higher dimensional form of matter? Is it a phase of normal matter that we haven't discovered yet? Is this what happened to all the antimatter after the big bang? Can dark matter interact with regular matter AT ALL!?
We literally have no idea... there have been a couple of theories lately that suggests there could even be new dark matter 'elements' if that's what you even want to call them. So we will just cobble a couple of these together and just make something up that sounds plausible and at the very least, cool.
In GRIP's time, they have not only discovered what dark matter is, but they have unlocked all its secrets as well. It is matter just like you and I know it as now, but during the big bang, the intense energy of the explosion fired a large quantity of the matter that was created (E=mc^2) by the explosion into a higher dimensional existence (kind like what Cybruiser57Péter suggested) which caused them to not only not (Oh no a double negative! I can see the grammar people gathering their pitchforks already) be able to interact with matter as we know it, but gave it the inability to interact with itself as well... therefore there are no dark matter stars or galaxies (that are self forming however) just a googleplex of particles. Gravity (the weakest of the four forces) transcends through all the upper dimensions (thus why in our normal 3 it is so weak, it is just spread too thin to make as much of a difference as all the others) so that is why dark matter is still affected by gravity from not only itself, but all the matter in the first 3 dimensions as well.
Going off of this, one can see that if they took a lower dimensional particle and fired it into the upper dimension (and managed to simultaneously control all of the particles 'time' locations seeing as the 4th dimension is time (supposedly) to keep all of the particles other 3 forces interacting with each other in the higher dimensions) that if enough energy is supplied, one could theoretically, surgically insert the entire vehicle into the 4th dimension, and in theory, transforming it into dark matter. If the entirety of the vehicle's particles time location is controlled (no small feat I would imagine) then you could slightly offset the vehicle's location only a nanosecond into the future or past and, in theory, be able to phase through matter at will seeing as that's what dark matter is best at.
How do we keep from passing through the ground? Well, seeing as we have the ability to phase the entire car in and out at will, just keep phasing in and out the contact patch for the tires... problem solved. *waves magic wand and muttered things about the future*Method 4. Quantum Tunneling
Anyone ever play Portal? Yea, well as absurd as that game's physics is, it's not totally made up... basically they just take a concept from Quantum Physics and turn the dial up to about a trillion and then some... sure, the way they do it doesn't make any sense (blowing the hawking radiation off of a miniature black hole with a fan and coloring it with die as it exits the gun... what?) but Quantum Tunneling is real... even if you can't open a 'portal' with it like that.
What scientists HAVE managed to do is control Quantum Tunneling with lasers! (here we go again with the lasers) I literally only just found this article when writing the post, it's a pretty interesting read.http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cont ... with-light
What they managed to do in essence was Quantum Entangle (yup, more scientific voodoo) a photon onto an atom with what sounds almost like an instruction set that essentially 'told' the atom to tunnel through the substance in its path. That is crazy cool.
In a world where technology has advanced to where it has in this game, I can totally envision a system that would be able to control this on the fly. Again, this would take some crazy amount of power to accomplish, but compared to the others... it would be fairly fuel efficient only requiring an instruction packet to be entangled onto each atom at a time rather than annihilating and rebuilding them on the fly or switching dimensions. This also (to me) sounds like the most plausible of the technologies that I proposed here (although there is no reason that any of them wouldn't work... except antimatter... that would just make a mess)
So that is my take on how this could theoretically work. I think it would be pretty neat if we had any one of these three... although... personally I like the dark matter one... cause that just sounds cooler than the others and then you could get away with making a dark ghost vehicle visual effect (even if in reality it would just be 100% invisible) that would look just epic