The recently-announced fourth-generation Intel Core processor powered Sony VAIO Pro Ultrabook will be put to the test as it helps Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere on their journey to the South Pole.
The duo is aiming to become the first to complete the almost 2,900km journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back – a journey that, more than a century ago, killed British Royal Navy Captain Scott and his crew died during their Terra Nova expedition.
The Ultrabook, weighing just 870g, is the lightest Ultrabook ever, and the team will be among the first people to use it. A Next Unit of Computing (NUC) device will also provide them with a 24/7 data connection via satellite phone to server in London. Both the NUC and the Ultrabook will use solar panels attached to a specially designed sled to charge.
The technology that will be used during the expedition has been specially tested over several months at Intel's London labs for use in the harsh Antarctic conditions, with temperatures expected to plunge below -40°C. Technicians have frozen and defrosted the Ultrabook, before checking the operation capability and then freezing it again.
The Ultrabook will provide the team with unprecedented communication capability for the Antarctic region. Travelling in temperatures below -40°C, the team will be able to upload video, photos, data and blog content with minimal delay, enabling them to share their journey as it happens, via a dedicated Facebook and Twitter page and a special Scott Expedition YouTube channel.
“We are delighted to be supporting this record-breaking attempt by Ben Saunders to complete the Scott Expedition,” said Patrick Bliemer, Intel’s regional manager for northern Europe. “That Intel technology will help him share his experience with audiences around the world, and bring back data from the Pole that will help uncover mysteries that remain to this day, is a source of much pride for the team here," he said.
Saunders and L'Herpiniere will travel through polar areas so remote that data gathered by Captain Scott's original expedition team in 1912 remains one of its most complete sources of documentation that is still used by climate scientists to this day.