Internet for all: Facebook to start testing Wi-Fi drones next year

facebook to start testing wi fi drones next year mark zuckerberg internet laser for good or evil 2
Both Facebook and Google are battling it out to become the first high-profile company to bring Internet connectivity to remote locations around the world, with the social networking giant this week revealing further details of its drone-based initiative that it hopes will enable it to achieve its goal.

The bold project, which could see drones take to the skies by 2019, is part of the Facebook-backed Internet.org initiative, with mobile-related companies such as Samsung, Qualcomm, Nokia, Ericsson, and MediaTek also involved.

Helping Internet.org toward its mission aim is the Connectivity Lab, a team of experts assembled to help build the necessary technology so it’ll be able to “beam Internet to people from the sky” – as Mark Zuckerberg once put it – from drones capable of staying airborne for months at a time. Satellites could also be used, as well as free-space optical communication (FSO) technology, which uses light to transmit data through space via invisible, infrared laser beams.

Speaking at the recent Social Good Summit in New York City, Connectivity Lab engineering director Yael Maguire said he hoped to start testing the drones some time next year.

High fliers

Maguire explained that the solar-powered flying machines would operate at an altitude of between 60,000 and 90,000 feet, well out of the way of all airspace and weather systems. However, according to the director, there are currently no rules about flying above 60,000 feet, a factor that’s causing the team some concern as regulations imposed at a later date could become an issue for the project.

In addition, an existing one-operator-per-drone rule could severely limit the number of unmanned aerial vehicles that the team launches, which would understandably adversely affect the scope and shape of the project. Maguire hopes it can be arranged for one operator to pilot around 100 drones.

What may surprise some is the size of Facebook’s flying machine, which Maguire says could be as large as a Boeing 747 aircraft. It would, however, be considerably lighter than the popular wide-body airliner.

According to Maguire, one of the current designs is the length of “about six or seven Priuses, but is the weight of four of the tires of a Prius.”

If next year’s tests prove successful and the team manages to overcome a myriad of technical challenges, Maguire envisages the drones could be delivering Internet to locations in 21 countries across Latin America, Africa, and Asia in 2017, or by 2019 at the latest.

[Source: Mashable]

Product Review

If you don't know about Genesis yet, the G70 is going to change that

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Korea’s first attempt to take on the vaunted German trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Competition doesn’t come much tougher than that.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Computing

IBM’s Q System One is the rock star quantum computing needs

Quantum computing is intriguing. It's also confusing, distant, and unfathomable, which means people often skip right by the topic. IBM's Q System One may not be a scientific breakthrough, but it finally gives everyone a reason to stop and…
Movies & TV

Epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Smart Home

Woman finds wedding ring in new Instant Pot, tracks down owner on social media

Instant Pots make a great Christmas gift, but one woman opened hers to discover someone else's wedding ring inside. Through the power of social media, she was able to return to the ring to its proper owner.
Emerging Tech

Indiegogo claims 2018 was its best year yet with 1,300 success stories

Just how many successful products launched on Indiegogo last year? For the first time, the crowdfunding platform shared the number of projects shipping to backers. The year-end statistics also list the most successful campaigns.
Photography

Lume Cube wants to help you look your best while livestreaming

You're ready to start a video conference or go live, thenn you realize the lighting is all wrong. The Lume Cube Air VC is a lighting kit designed specifically for video conferencing and livestreaming.
Social Media

Japanese monks hit Twitter to protest driving ticket in the most brilliant way

Cops in Japan told a monk recently that he shouldn't drive a car wearing his traditional robe as its long length and long sleeves might affect his ability to drive safely. His fellow monks came up with a brilliant response.
Social Media

Looking to share some content? Here's how to repost on Instagram

Ever seen a cool picture on Instagram that you wanted to share? There's no official means of reposting content on Instagram, but there are a few workarounds. We break down the two most logical choices for getting the job done.
News

Japanese billionaire splashes the cash to break retweet record

Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has proved again he has a knack for self-publicity after launching a cash-prize contest to break the retweet record. Maezawa is the same man who is hoping to go to the moon with SpaceX.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Photography

Photoshop fail gives Aussie leader two left feet in official portrait

The Aussie prime minister doesn't have two left feet, despite an official photograph of the leader and his family suggesting otherwise. It was, of course, a Photoshop fail, and the embarrassing snafu was soon trending on Twitter.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.