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The Santa Challenge: Can you find Father Christmas?

Recently the US government, or to be more precise the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), issued a challenge. The competition involved finding the location of 10 red weather balloons and DARPA asked competitors to use the web and social networks to figure out where all the balloons were.

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) won the competition and DARPA director, Dr Durgan, is quoted as saying, “The challenge has captured the imagination of people around the world, is rich with scientific intrigue and, we hope, is part of a growing ‘renaissance of wonder’ throughout the nation.”

Well, we’ve got a similar challenge that takes things even further. What is this amazing competition? We’re asking people to find Santa. You have to come up with and implement a way of finding Santa using readily available technology – in other words, solutions that involve using satellites don’t count.

Below is a video of our slightly unsuccessful attempt to come up with a Santa-finding system using a mobile phone, Qik and Twitter. Think you can beat that MIT? To enter you need to send us a video or picture of your contraption and/or system with a short explanation of how it works.

Entries will be judged on innovative design and potential effectiveness, or if you actually find Santa then you automatically win. There’s no prize but finding Santa is prize enough, surely. Send your entry to The deadline is 26/12/09 and the winner will be announced on 01/01/10.



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