Panasonic Toughpad Tablets Sent into Space…and survive!
Panasonic Toughpad rugged tablet and handheld devices are renowned for their durability but in the most extreme test to date two devices have survived being sent into space. Hanging from a meteorological balloon and surrounded by cameras to film the journey, the Toughpad FZ-N1 handheld and FZ-G1 tablet were sent up over 34,000 metres to near space on two separate flights. The devices survived temperatures of -67 Celsius before the balloon exploded and they plunged back to earth at speeds in excess of 250 miles per hour.
“We know our devices are tough but even our technical experts were not sure if the Toughpad tablets would survive this extreme test,” said Jon Tucker, European Product Manager, at Panasonic Computer Product Solutions. “But they reached near space, 3 times the normal flying height of a jet and well above the Armstrong line, where humans cannot survive without pressurised suits, and then the fall to earth. Apart from a couple of knocks and scratches both devices were in perfect working order and were still recording.”
The Panasonic Toughpad devices were launched by Dr Chris Rose and Dr Alex Baker from Sentintospace. The firm specialises in sending and filming objects in near space and has also sent the Specsavers bear for an out of this world advertising campaign and a portable television for a Kelvin Jones music video. The team prepares the balloon and payload, calculates the flight path, liaises with the Civil Aviation Authority for clearance and then tracks and recovers the payload when it falls back to earth.
“Sending the Toughpad tablets into near space was our biggest challenge yet,” said Chris. “When the balloon explodes, the payload plummets back to earth creating some spectacular footage. I didn’t believe for a moment that they would survive the extreme conditions of near space. These devices certainly live up to their reputation.”
Panasonic Toughbook notebooks and Toughpad tablets and handheld devices are designed to help mobile workers improve productivity wherever they have to operate. In order to operate in harsh environments, the fully rugged devices are shock, drop and vibration tested and designed to withstand water, dust and extreme temperatures. They are used across a range of different industries and services including the military, emergency services, logistics, retail, utilities and transportation.