The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has once again given top-performing American gear to Santa to assist him with his Christmas mission, despite Saint Nicholas's ongoing refusal to release his aviation technology to the U.S.
Santa has received DARPA research the past two Christmas seasons under the High-speed Optimized Handling of Holiday Operations initiative. The HO HO HO initiative has previously gifted Santa with the tools to protect his network from hacks, land more safely on slanted roofs, and more effectively scout homes for people who are awake before he places the presents.
This year, DARPA's gift features five major programs.
1. New tools for seeing through snow, dust, and fog
The Multifunction RF program is working on creating new sensors for aircraft that can detect obstacles, terrain, and other aircraft during flight — even in severe dust and snowstorms. The military wants the technology to prevent crashes during dangerous operations.
But Santa can use it to more safely approach houses in severe snowstorms and dust storms. This will become increasingly important as Santa fights to maintain his tight timeline with more kids to serve every year.
2. A fancy new Santa suit will help prevent strain injuries
The Warrior Web suit is designed to protect soldier's joints and muscles from damage while the wearer is carrying heavy loads, sometimes topping 100 pounds. To do so, the suit uses a bare 100w of power to augment the muscle work done by the user, lessening their muscle fatigue and injury risk.
While Santa's average load from the sleigh to the tree is unknown, his sack sometimes has to accommodate dozens of toys, books, and electronic devices. Hopefully, a new Santa suit featuring Warrior Web technology will help Santa more safely move up and down the chimneys.
3. The TRADES program will lead to new toy designs
An artist created this concept art of an artist creating concept art. (Illustration: DARPA)
The Transformative Design program is trying to give engineers new tools to model the properties of possible equipment designs and to figure out manufacturing processes to create those products.
For top elves, this means that they can start fabricating new toy designs that would have been impossible just a few years ago. The new technologies will be especially useful for 3D printing.
4. New computer chips will keep the North Pole's computers cool
As Santa and his staff serve a growing population, DARPA has become worried that the computer servers processing all that information will overheat.
To help prevent this, they've offered the Man in Red access to their Intrachip/Interchip Enhanced Cooling research. Computer chips integrating this technology are cooled more efficiently and are less likely to fail during high-demand tasks such as when Santa makes his list and checks it twice.
5. Programs from the Cyber Grand Challenge will defend against hacks by the naughtiest of children
(Photo: DARPA Camilla Sjoden)
The Cyber Grand Challenge provided millions of dollars in prizes to teams who put created automated bug hunters and defenses against hacking and then pitted those software programs and machines against each other on a Las Vegas stage.
Now, DARPA has turned some of that research over to Santa to help him keep his computer systems secure. While there's little evidence that any hackers have made it into the system so far, the Naughty/Nice list is too obvious a target to be unprotected.