Toughbooks take on an Antarctic challenge

In November 2011, two intrepid polar explorers – Dixie Dansercoer and Sam Deltour – headed off on a new expedition, Antarctic ICE. Since then, the two have traversed a previously inaccessible region of the Antarctic continent

By their side, every step of the way, was Panasonic Toughbook technology, supporting the team and allowing them to achieve ground-breaking results, on both a scientific and human level.

In crossing hitherto unexplored regions of the Antarctic, it was critical that the pair were able to collect and analyze data in the most extreme conditions imaginable.

As Sam explained prior to setting off: “Along with being in good physical condition, the success of our expedition relies on the right choice of tools and technology. Failure just isn’t an option. Because we gather important data daily, we need a laptop that performs well, and most importantly, continues to do so in the most challenging environments. We know the Toughbook CF-19 will never let us down. It ensures reassurance and security during the trip.”

Ready for action – whatever the weather

Sam and Dixie tethered kites to mobile meteorological stations in the Antarctic to investigate wind layers at different heights. Each morning, they collected the data via the CF-19’s integrated Bluetooth connection, which was then forwarded to the expedition HQ and shared with various universities around the world.

Previous polar explorers often carried the hard drive of their laptops as close to their body as possible, trying to prevent them from freezing. But they weren’t using Toughbooks. The CF-19 heats itself, continuing to function when temperatures plunge as low as 50oC.

Energy consumption during the expedition was a critical factor, as the only power source available to the explorers were two solar panels. Thankfully, the CF-19 features an ‘eco-mode’, meaning it can operate while consuming little energy. Depending on the activity, the batteries can last 8-10 hours.

The pair also had to travel at speeds of up to 50km/h, even across ‘zastrugi’ zones of unforgiving ice rocks and snow ridges. And despite the Toughbooks taking a serious battering, they always proved capable of staying operational afterwards.

Finally, the Toughbook’s all-weather touchscreen, able to be operated even with thick gloves, ensured the team could work without interruption when outdoors.

Sharing the experience

“Our rugged laptop is also our connection to the outside world, including family and friends,” explained Sam. “We can download movies and pictures of what we experienced every day directly to our Toughbook and share them easily via email or social media. We even have an extra hard drive, so backup wasn’t a problem.”

For Toughbook, Sam and Dixie’s choice of rugged laptop is a source of real pride.

“We’re pleased with the confidence that Sam and Dixie have shown in our Toughbooks,” explains Steven Vindevogel, Toughbook’s Benelux Business Manager. “Due to their robustness and performance, Toughbooks are ideal for use in the extreme operating conditions encountered in the Antarctic. In the Netherlands, they’re typically used by mobile professionals needing constant access to data and applications. Due to their reliability, we’re able to support customers in optimizing their business processes.”

Discover more about the expedition online at www.antarcticice.be