Not everyone has access to a fast, affordable and reliable internet connection, especially in far-flung areas. Google hopes to change that with Project Loon by creating a network of balloons traveling high up in the atmosphere and bringing internet to people in remote and rural parts of the world.
The idea of Project Loon is to launch numerous balloons into the stratosphere, in altitudes higher than those of commercial planes. These balloons would then provide internet access to the people on the ground via a special antenna attached to the buildings below. The internet signal bounces from balloon to balloon and then back to earth.
The balloons are equipped with radio and run on solar-power. They are designed to send and receive signals only from Project Loon balloons to remove interference from other signals that can bog down the connection. The balloons are designed to sail freely with the winds, but are controlled using wind and solar power to move them up and down to catch the winds.
Google hopes that not only will the project bring internet access to remote areas, but also be useful after natural disasters. They are piloting the project in Canterbury and Christchurch in New Zealand this month.
Watch the videos below for more about Project Loon and the technology behind it.
And click through the gallery to see more images of the balloons themselves.