You may think that all the uses for balloons have been thought of. All they’re good for are parties, sucking helium out of, and making farmyard animals.
Google have come up with a unique way to put balloons to use again
They want to provide remote and rural locations with internet, using balloons.
Nicknamed Project Loon, the aim is to use high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere that will create an aerial wireless network. It unofficially began in 2011 with tests and trial runs being performed across California’s Central Valley. It wasn’t until 14th June 2013 that that officially announced it.
Google ran a pilot experiment in New Zealand. Here they released 30 balloons from the South Island area. There were about 50 local users in and around the area who tested connections to the balloon network using specially created antennas. The trial was a success and Google now plans on sending around 300 balloons up around the world to provide coverage for New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina.
So why did they choose to operate the balloons in the stratosphere and how do they make sure the balloons stay in place? Google say that the layer of the stratosphere that the balloons use is ideal because of its low wind speeds and minimal turbulence. What’s more, Google can model with some accuracy the seasonal, longitudinal, and latitudinal variations of wind speeds within the area.
There have been a few incidents where the balloons have crashed though. In 2013 a balloon crashed into power lines in Washington. Most recently one crashed into a field in Missouri. Google say that the balloons have a life span of about 100 days, but more often than not they manage to outlive that expectancy by around 100 more days.
Google’s aim is to provide internet for everyone, and they’ve come up with a pretty unconventional way to do it.
While we can’t offer you an internet connection, we can offer you a few more traditional balloon uses. We have a host of balloon services including decoration, and printed balloons. To learn more you can contact us here.