Hi there, Thomas the Elf here. I just returned to the North Pole from GE’s research labs in Upstate New York where we have just put the finishing touches on Santa’s new and improved sleigh. Check it out for yourselves.
You’ll notice the overall sleigh looks the same. Santa has been very pleased with the 3D-printed design we developed a few years ago. What’s new this year is something you can’t see; its brain! In addition to being the fastest and most efficient sleigh in the world, now it will be the most intelligent!
Santa has marveled at the amazing advances being made in computing, software and analytics over the years. It seems just like yesterday that he was putting Atari computers under the tree for thousands of families around the world. Today, he can fit small gaming devices in stockings that have infinitely more computing power than those early systems. As the number of deliveries Santa makes climbs each year, he has been after us to integrate new software solutions into the sleigh to help him manage this increased volume. This year we did not disappoint.
We have made a few important upgrades to help Santa manage his workshop and his global travels more efficiently than ever. First, we’re using an exciting new software platform that GE has introduced called PredixTMon the sleigh. We were looking for a platform that could handle our apps and the industrial scale data sets that PredixTM was created to support. It will really help Santa monitor who’s been good or bad, track which kind of gifts to deliver to which houses, and determine how he and his helpers can increase productivity. Heck, Santa may be able to predict what children want for Christmas before they ask him! But that would spoil his chance to spend time with them so we’ll probably disable that feature.
Of course, a good software platform loves good data and lots of it, so what to do? Put more sensors on the sleigh. We’re taking advantage of a lesser known additive technology GE scientists have been working on called Direct Write, or 3D Inking. My colleagues in the lab are experimenting with printing sensors directly onto parts and components for their products like jet engines. With this technology, the idea is to print sensors on parts and in sections of an engine they could not be placed before. We’re putting sensors now in new sections of the sleigh to better track how it is performing. We hope it will yield new insights on future improvements that could be made.
I encourage you to check out all of the other technologies we have outfitted Santa’s sleigh with, including new LED lamps that help light the sky through the worst of winter weather that he may encounter. Well, I’d better go. Less than week to go before Christmas Eve and there’s a lot more work to be done. Happy holidays and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015!