How Santa Uses Interface Force Measurement Solutions to Expedite Delivery

It is well known that Jolly Ole Saint Nick leverages a great deal of magic to deliver countless gifts worldwide on Christmas. However, many don’t know that Santa does not do it all with the holiday magic. In fact, the science and engineering that goes into a wide variety of Santa’s many tools for delivering gifts are quite impressive!

With all that engineering, there is a heavy reliance of accuracy proven through rigorous test and measurement. Santa and his team confidently turn to Interface’s precision force measurement products to expedite delivery, maximize operations and packaging, quality test toys, and most importantly ensure he has absolute confidence in flight safety. How is it all possible? Lots of magical ingenuity, belief and of course, using advanced sensor technologies and instrumentation to assist in making it all happen.

Like most of our customers, we often don’t promote our custom solutions out of respect for their proprietary projects capabilities. Due to the magical capabilities that have unknown sourcing for competition, we agreed that we could reveal some of our shared secrets. Fortunately, the big guy gave us the green light to give some insight into our role in the magnificently unique present delivery machine. It should be known, our internal resources have revealed we’ve been working with special technicians in the Santa operations behind the scenes for many years.

As the world population nears 8 billion, Santa is leveraging outside experts and sources to supplement his own team’s abilities beyond reindeers and sleds, such as delivery drones. It’s a fact, Santa only works with the newest innovations. In addition, the reindeer may be magic, but the harnesses holding them to one another, and the sleigh, take careful calculations to ensure a smooth ride all night. Let’s look at a few examples of how Interface helps with all these challenges.

One disclaimer, Santa asked us not to use any real pictures from his workshop to retain the magic of Christmas and not give away trade secrets. We’ll use our app notes illustrations to paint the picture.

WTS Reindeer Bridle Tension System for Faster Performance

Santa came to Interface because he needed to quantify the so-called “poll pressure.” Bits designed to give strong poll pressure using simple pulley lever principles show a much-attenuated transfer of the rein tension through the bit to the poll. The attenuation is readily understood when the reindeer’s mouth is recognized as a “floating” fulcrum degrading the otherwise required fixed pivot point of an ideal lever. We suggested a WTS Reindeer Bridle Tension System, with two SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cells in both the line of the reins and that of the cheekpiece on one side of the reindeer. This is used to study the dynamic response of the cheekpiece tension to rein tension. Utilizing the Wireless Telemetry System (WTS), the valuable data can be displayed and/or recorded in real time using a PC and/or a handheld receiver. The fundamental operation of the bits could in principle be discovered on the laboratory bench. But in practice of course, the reindeer’s mouth is expected to provide the fulcrum. Within the real experimental system comprising Santa’s hands on the reins, the reindeers’ mouth, and the bit, the elasticity of the mouth provides a “floating” fulcrum and a potential source of time-lag and decoherence between the dynamic rein and cheekpiece tensions. Ultimately, this solution was applied across each of the reindeer to ensure Santa understood the pole pressure of each flying reindeer guiding his sleigh as he manned the reins.

Expediting Holiday Gift with Santa Approved Drone Delivery

As mentioned above, Santa needed some help to ensure the growing population received presents on Christmas night, so he started to employ “delivery drones” into his process. To ensure everything went smoothly, Santa needs to weigh the payload of the package being delivered while the propeller motors compensate for weight shifting or uneven weight distribution of the package to lift and fly the package to its destination. Four Interface WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells were used to measure the weight of the payload and detect weight shifting or uneven weight distribution of the package which would signal the necessary propeller motors to compensate for an uneven weight load. The four WMC load cells accurately measured the payload weight and maintained stability of the propeller motors to safely deliver the parcel. This information was communicated to the drone’s on-board processor for monitoring and recording this information during flight. This solution has given Santa the extra hands he needs to ensure every boy and girl receives their presents in time!

Production Workshop Toys and Bicycle Load Testing

Santa’s workshop is also full of force sensing solutions for all the individual toys that need to be tested for safety and quality. One of the systems he uses measures bike frame load capacities and vibrations on the frame to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during the final step of the product testing process for children and adults receiving the bikes. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the bike’s seat and the bike frame. This will measure the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. The results will be captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to a PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Using this solution, Santa was able to gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing.

With new technology and a rising need for fast, safe and reliable delivery of all the gifts around the world, it takes a lot of belief, mixed with magic, advanced engineering and precision test and measurement to meet the demand for Christmas presents every year. And Interface proud to be the load cell of choice for Santa’s workshop.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all from everyone at Interface!

Testing for Commercial Drones and Parcel Delivery

Drone parcel delivery, and the use of drones in general, has expanded rapidly throughout the world. A technology that was once relegated to science fiction and imagination is becoming a real-world asset and making a huge impact on many commercial use applications in military and defense, consumer goods, logistics and inventory management, industrial automation, construction, security, agriculture, healthcare, imaging and surveying, as well as shipping and fulfillment.

To give you an idea of the impact of drones, take a look at recent numbers published by the FAA on registered drones in the U.S.:

  • 1,710,159 Drones Registered
  • 495,909 Commercial Drones Registered
  • 1,210,751 Recreational Drones Registered
  • 195,346 Remote Pilots Certified

There is a significant role for test and measurement as well as embedded sensors in this growing industry, which is expected to reach of $6B in size in the next few years. Load cells play a huge part in the design and development of this specialized aircraft technology and ongoing monitoring while in flight. Drones are classified as unmanned aerial vehicles. Basically, an aircraft without a human pilot. Successful operation of a UAV is dependent on a system, including the vehicle, a ground-based controller, and communications components, all of which must pass rigorous performance testing standards and constant data feedback.

The knowledge and tools we apply to test and measure airplanes and spacecraft performance can be transferred at a smaller scale to drones. Drone OEMs need to collect data points on thrust and velocity in test, and they also need to collect real-time sensor data on drones in-use. In fact, a large variety of sensor types are used for drone applications, including: force sensors, gyroscopes, barometers, and accelerometers.

Most recreational drones have passed significant testing during the engineering and design phase to ensure safety for anyone on the ground. Early applications and adoption sparked immediate regulation and safety requirements. We are now seeing the fastest expansion of this technology into commercial use. The future of drone technology for wide-scale business use has several of the world’s largest companies engaged in expansive development and deployment in use of UAVs for package delivery, including Alphabet (Google), Amazon, UPS, CVS and Walmart.

Commercial applications require substantially more rigorous testing in all use cases, in particular for transportation of objects. Most developed countries have defined commercial use requirements and regulations, such as the FAA in the U.S. Not only is the safety of those on the ground important critical, so is protecting the value of the goods in transport.

In demonstrating how force measurement solutions are used with drone technology, Interface created animated application note showcasing how a force solution is necessary for real-time monitoring of drones used in the shipping and fulfillment markets. Testing beyond flight, there is a level of complexity present when you introduce the weight of a package to a drone.


Customer Challenge:

A customer approached Interface to deliver a force solution capable of weighing a “payload” and using that data in real-time to tell the propeller motors to compensate for weight shifting or uneven weight distribution. The purpose of the force solution was to help the drone lift the payload and fly normally to reach its destination.

Interface Force Measurement Solution:

To solve this challenge, Interface supplied four WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells, which were used to measure the weight of the payload and detect weight shifting and distribution in flight. As shifting and uneven distribution occurred, the load cells send a signal to the necessary propeller motors to compensate.

How it Works:

The four miniature load cells are connected independently to each of the four landing gear legs. The load cells are then connected to the drone’s processor, which allows the load cell to communicate the weight of the payload and store the information. As the drone flies and weight shifts, the load cell can then relay the information to the processor in real-time so that the individual motors increase in RPM to balance the shifting weight.

Subscribe to Interface’s YouTube Channel to see our latest animated application notes. This new series of animated application notes give viewers a better sense of how force measurement products are applied to real-world challenges to collect and analyze data. So far, we have produced three animated application notes, which we have linked below:


Introduction to Interface Application Notes

Interface has a long history of sharing valuable resources to help our fellow colleagues and customers with various use cases for test and measurement applications. Whether it be with our in-depth technical library, the Interface Load Cell Field Guide, free access to design files for our breadth of products, or industry case studies highlighting how our customers use Interface products. Access to all of these resources is available on Interface’s website

A frequently visited area of these online resources is our Interface Application Notes archive. These resourceful explainers are of interest to engineers, new product designers, metrology and engineering students, as well as T&M industry professionals.

Interface created a large collection of App Notes to showcase how Interface load cells, torque transducers, accessories and instrumentation are used by OEMs and for various test and measurement projects across all types of industries.

Each Interface App Note has the following details:

  • Name of the App Note with Primary Product
  • Industry
  • Summary of the Application Use Case Need or Challenge
  • Interface Solution
  • Results
  • Materials
  • How it Works
  • Visual Representation of the Application

Interface App Notes are great conversation starters. They help to showcase how various Interface products and systems are used across all types of industries including medical, automotive, energy, industrial automation, consumer products testing, and aerospace. Additionally, several application notes highlight specific test and measurement lab projects.

Interface Top 10 Application Notes

  1. Race Car Suspension Testing
  2. Aircraft Wing Testing
  3. Surgical Stapler Force Verification
  4. Drone Parcel Delivery
  5. Bluetooth Brake Pedal
  6. Medical Bag Weighing
  7. Seat Testing Machine
  8. Industrial Automation Friction Testing
  9. Vascular Clamp Testing  
  10. Bolt Fastening and Torque

We have many more for you to check out. Visit the entire library of Interface Application Notes here. We are adding new application notes on a regular basis, so check back frequently.

Be sure to check out the full line of Interface solutions here. If you have questions or would like to talk with our application engineering experts, drop us a note or give us a call.