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Facebook explores aerospace, drones, lasers through Connectivity Lab

Posting in Technology
 
Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 09.59.14.png

Facebook has announced plans to extend the Web worldwide through a team called the Facebook Connectivity Lab.

The social network's new lab, connected to the Internet.org initiative, is designed to build "drones, satellites, and lasers to deliver the Internet to everyone," according to a post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The Connectivity Lab team has been issued the task to develop new technology which will provide affordable and wide-ranging Internet access to everyone.

Zuckerberg's revelation includes the hire of aerospace technology experts, including five who used to work at U.K.-based Ascenta -- a company that manufactures high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft -- NASA and the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

The team is specifically working on free-space optical communication, or FSO, as a way to transmit data through space using invisible, infrared laser beams. This could potentially be used to boost the speed of internet connections provided by satellites and drones. 

Facebook Connectivity Lab will use long-endurance aircraft to support Internet connections across the world, and low-Earth orbit satellites could be used to beam Web access to the ground.

It may sound futuristic, but considering Facebook's recent acquisition of virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for $2 billion, who is to say what the company will produce next?

Read on: Facebook | Internet.org

Image credit: Facebook

— By on March 28, 2014, 5:00 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure