When Google first announced Project Loon, its plan to cover the world in a blanket of Wi-Fi using internet balloons, it was sort of hard to believe. It still is, but now Google’s taking us inside the antenna.
We know how they’ll Google’s Loon balloons will flock together like cyborg birds, but the challenge of designing antennas for a flock of balloons is uniquely weird, not at all like typical satellites. Normal satellites are locked in geosynchronous orbit with the Earth, so you can point your receiver in one direction and always expect the satellite to be there. But Loon balloons will be drifting all over the place, so Google had to get clever with the way the antennas shoot their signal.
The antenna Google’s showing off here is just a prototype, so the design could change, but it’s probably safe to bet the basic tech will remain the same. Here’s to hoping it works as well as Google thinks it will. [Project Loon via Engadget]