Santa’s got a brand new ride
GE helpers design high-tech sleigh
NISKAYUNA Santa’s sleigh might be hauling a bag full of coal for the ne’er-do-wells tonight, but it definitely won’t be leaving behind a carbon footprint, thanks to the scientists at General Electric.
GE unveiled a greener, smarter sleigh Friday designed to make Ol’ Saint Nick’s travels a lot faster and much more efficient. Their scientists first introduced the 21st century sleigh back in 2009, but they decided to upgrade the design this year after further advancements in GE technology.
“It has been three years since we introduced a new sleigh for Santa,” said Mark Little, GE Global Research senior vice president and director, in a news release. “And we figured it was time to provide a few upgrades to make his ride even better.”
The sleigh is technically an “imagining” and only exists (as far as we know) as a digital panorama at www.ge.com/santa. It’s a sleek little number, though, with a silver coating and red grille.
“With the advancements GE scientists have made in 3-D printing, new materials like CMCs and the great opportunities to make machines smarter with the Industrial Internet, we have incorporated several new technologies to give Santa and his reindeer team a greener, smarter sleigh,” said Little.
Thomas the Elf, chief toy engineer at Santa’s Toy Lab in the North Pole, said he and his fellow elves have been working on the sleigh with GE as a surprise for Santa for months now. He offered the world a sneak peak of the new sleigh on his blog, which is suspiciously hosted by GE.
Features of the sleigh include:
* An icephobic coating: The special coating designed by GE’s nanoscientists is so repellent it causes ice and water to just bounce off the sleigh.
* Self-powered OLED lighting: Placed at the front of the sleigh, it will increase visibility and doesn’t require a power outlet.
* 3-D printed fabric-covered sleigh blades: The tough, flexible fabric for wind turbine blades that GE claims will revolutionize the wind power industry also gives Santa’s sleigh greater lift and maneuverability.
* Ceramic matrix composites: Their light frame design saves energy and can withstand the heat of entry and re-entry into Earth’s orbit, allowing Santa to fly into outer space if he is so inclined.
* Durathon Battery: It lasts much longer than the last generation, even under extreme temperature conditions — ideal for arctic sleigh rides and reindeer who need a break every now and then.
* Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jets: The thin, cooling solution improves jet engine aerodynamics, and helps cool down Santa’s laptop full of digitized wish lists.
Other features like GE’s air traffic management technology, wireless medical sensor and asset intelligence tracking technology also should assist Santa in his nighttime travels by keeping him from crashing into other aircraft, overexerting himself while climbing down chimneys, and monitoring his gift inventory.