We chat to the record-breaking polar explorer about his use of technology in extreme climates...

In the Hot Seat: Ben Saunders

We chat to record-breaking polar explorer Ben Saunders about his use of technology in extreme climates…

What technology did you use on your recent expedition?

We used a bog-standard off the shelf Ultrabook to edit and compress video and pictures with a custom satellite antennae. We were the most high-tech Antarctic expedition in history.

Do you believe with the sentiment that technology causes a detachment from the natural world?

To me, technology is a wonderful tool for sharing and engaging people with places that they’re unlikely to see first-hand.

If you could only take one gadget – what would it be?

GPS. That’s life or death technology.

You’re also a dedicated marathon runner – does wearable tech interest you?

I think that’s the next step. We looked at a few things for Antarctica, but the technology wasn’t quite there.

Have you considered an expedition without technology?

People ask why I didn’t do the expedition in period clothing, with canvas tents. If you look at any of the pioneers of that era, they were all using cutting-edge technology – the best stuff they could get their hands on. I wanted it to be a showcase for human endeavour, as well as technology.

Why do companies such as Intel support people like you?

I think the appeal to them was that we were using their technology to share a story that otherwise wouldn’t be able to be shared. No one can see a logo on a hat in Antarctica.

What’s next?

I’ve got a few ideas – nothing I’m willing to say yet. Predictably, it’ll be in cold places with a lot of technology.

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