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Project Loon: Google Launches Solar Powered Balloons to Bring the Internet to Off-Grid Areas
The furthest corners of the globe may soon have a viable internet connection, thanks to Google‘s newly launched Project Loon. The project plans to deploy fleets of solar-powered balloons to bring the Internet to remote locations like jungles, mountains and archipelagos. The balloons will be controlled with wind and solar power, and they will connect to locations on the ground using simple antennas.
Even in 2013, not every corner of the planet has reliable access to the Internet. Google’s Project Loon may seem a bit whimsical to the tech-savvy, but the solution is grounded in sound engineering – balloons can fly higher than planes and they aren’t limited by rough terrain or weather.
The system consists of three elements. A ground station hub transmits the Internet to a balloon, which receives the signal and bounces it to dedicated antennae in the region. These antennae can be easily set up and moved as necessary. Project Loon is already underway, with testing in Canterbury, New Zealand starting this week. For the first trial, 30 balloons are being launched to communicate with 50 testers on the ground. Once perfected, Google plans to expand Project Loon to other countries.
Via Giga Om
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