Santa's magic might seem far-fetched to jaded grown-ups, but in the spirit of Arthur C. Clarke's famous maxim that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," scientists have cataloged Santa's smart technologies during a past visiting scholar program to his North Pole workshop.
Santa's "magic," it turns out, is a result of his access to advanced smart technologies, according to Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University. Silverberg visited the North Pole with his helpers, who identified these technologies. Mohammad Zikry looked into the novel materials used by Santa, Greg Buckner explored robotics, Fred DeJarnette investigated space travel and Herb Eckerlin examined energy conservation.
Smart technologies help Santa conduct business.
"Based on what we learned at the North Pole about Santa’s delivery methods," said Silverberg, "it would be impossible for him to accomplish his annual mission without smart technologies."
Smart technologies are nothing new to Santa, who has had access to advances in transportation, manufacturing and delivery for over 200 years. Today, Santa is able to deliver packages to all good boys and girls using a variety of smart technologies combining electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and computer science.
Santa's main stumbling block, according to grown-ups who have lost their faith in him, is that the current world population has just topped 7 billion, making it impossible to deliver all those presents in a single night. However, according to presentations by 11 engineers during Silverberg's visiting scholar trip to the North Pole, Santa makes smart use of "relativity clouds" to allow him to stretch time "like a rubber band."
"Relativity clouds are controllable domains--rips in time--that allow Santa months to deliver presents while only a few minutes pass on Earth. The presents are truly delivered in a wink of an eye," said Silverberg.
Santa also does not have to manufacture all the presents ahead of time either, but only needs his elves to maintain a database of who-wants-what, leaving the manufacturing of gifts to nano-machines in his bag where snow and soot from roofs are transformed into toys using molecule-by-molecule bottom-up construction. After the gifts for one residence are delivered, Santa's nano-machines refill his bag with just-in-time manufactured gifts for his next stop.
But how does Santa know what toys each child wants? The elves database of children and the toys they want is constructed from snail mail and emailed lists, as usual, but is also supplemented by a listening antenna that uses wireless electrocardiography to tell the difference between Mary in California wanting a "surfboard" and Michael in Minneapolis wanting a "snowboard."
To learn more about all the details from Silverberg's internship as a visiting scholar to the North Pole, read his blog “Dispatches From The North Pole.”