DARPA HO HO HOpes to Give Santa’s Workshop a High-Tech Makeover

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  • Technology from DARPA’s Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program, as well as prototype robotic landing gear, to improve the speed and maneuverability of Santa’s sleigh and its ability to land safely on slanted rooftops
    DARPA’s VTOL X-Plane program envisions revolutionary hybrid aircraft with the speed of fixed-wing platforms and the maneuverability of helicopters, while the robotic landing gear system (developed with funding from DARPA’s Mission Adaptive Rotor program) aims to expand the effectiveness of helicopters across military and national security missions by enabling takeoff and landing from angled, irregular and moving surfaces. Reports from Santa indicate that these capabilities would significantly augment his already proven piloting skills and help him and his reindeer safely deliver their precious cargo.
  • Initial research from the Revolutionary Enhancement of Visibility by Exploiting Active Light-fields (REVEAL) program to help Santa scout each home more efficiently before squeezing himself down the chimney
    DARPA’s REVEAL program is working to develop new imaging hardware and software technologies able to tap currently unused information in photon pathways, with the goal of reconstructing a full 3-D scene from a single, non-line-of-sight viewpoint. So equipped, Santa could look down the chimney and know at a glance whether children are asleep in their beds, where best to place presents and where to find the milk and cookies left for him.

“DARPA is proud to continue our partnership with Santa, who provides invaluable service every year to warfighters, veterans and their families,” said an Agency spokesperson, speaking from DARPA’s undisclosed northernmost workshop. “DARPA salutes St. Nick as an admirable early adopter of advanced technology, and wishes the best for everyone in the technology innovation ecosystem who together share the goal of making the impossible possible.”



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