iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Google’s Project Loon

Listen now 18 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Google’s Project Loon

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 09 July 2013

Project Loon is Google's experiment to provide internet access to the world from balloons floating 20 kilometres up in the sky. The concept has just been tested in New Zealand. The balloons are 15 metres in diameter, about the length of a small light aircraft and made from a very tough plastic. They have solar panels on board, computers, antennas and a control system.

The balloons can be inflated to change their height, which is key as the project plan is to launch hundreds of balloons into the stratosphere and have them circling the world providing internet access in places where there's poor connectivity. Simon Morton travelled to rural Canterbury to meet farmer Charles Nimmo. Charles was the first person to access the internet from one of Google’s balloons.

To be useful, autonomous robots need to move. But how do robots navigate their way over terrains and around obstacles? Two robots, Dora and Bridget have recently demonstrated just how at a convention in southern England. Dora is a self-guiding, human-sized robot on wheels, learning to navigate around indoor environments and Bridget is the prototype for the next Mars rover for ESA. Jennifer Whyntie reports on robots on the move.

'Hell is other people' wrote the philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre. It's a view held by the technologist, Scott Garner who has developed an app to help him avoid people. Garner talks to Click about the app that enables him to avoid friends and enemies as he walks around New York, enjoying an aimless uninterrupted wander.

(Photo: The Project Loon team prepares solar panels, electronics and balloon envelopes for launch as the sun rises in New Zealand © Project Loon Google)

Chapters

3 items
  • Project Loon

    Simon Morton reports on how New Zealand farmers gain connectivity via hot air balloons.

  • Mobile robots

    Jennifer Whyntie reports on robots learning to navigate on Earth and Mars.

  • Hell Is Other People

    Scott Garner demonstrates the App that helps you avoid your friends.

  • Bridget with Abigail Hutty and Dora the Explorer with Nick Hawes

    Bridget with Abigail Hutty and Dora the Explorer with Nick Hawes

    Photo by Jennifer Whyntie

Broadcasts

Free downloads

  1. Image for Click

    Click

    How computers and digital technology affect our lives around the world. Presented by Gareth…

  2. Image for Science Hour

    Science Hour

    Science news and highlights of the week from BBC World Service. The Science Hour is a weekly…

  3. Image for Tech Tent: Business and Technology

    Tech Tent: Business and Technology

    Business and Technology news from the BBC's technology desk. Tech entrepreneurs and experts give…

  4. Image for Trending

    Trending

    How social media is reshaping culture, politics and society, Trending explains the stories the world…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss