Google's project Loon: a network of high-altitude balloons for global connectivity

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 at 6:30 PM

TI Auditorium


6:30 - 7:00 PM Networking & Refreshments
7:00 - 8:00 PM Talks
8:00 - 8:30 PM Panel Session
8:30 - 8:45 PM Speaker Appreciation & Adjournment

Chair: Sanjay Kasturia

Session Abstract:  Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be controlled by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth.

This session will introduce the project, discuss the balloon design and network architecture, then finish by sharing some of our experiences from our June 2013 Pilot Test in New Zealand.

Speaker: Sam Leffler

Bio: Sam is responsible for making the Project Loon network work. Prior to joining GoogleX his main focus was keeping Chrome OS devices connected. Long distance wireless communication and mesh networking have been longstanding interests; prior to joining Google he worked on projects such as a 100 km wireless link between the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at LaSilla and the Inter-American Observatory at Cera Tolo.

Abstract: More information on the project is available online here.

Speaker: Sameera Ponda

Bio: Sameera is an Aerospace Engineer working on Project Loon at Google. Prior to Google, she received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT in 2004, worked full-time at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA as a simulation engineer until 2006, and pursued her M.S. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at MIT in 2008 and 2012. Her research interests include distributed multi-agent planning, estimation and control, and real-time planning algorithms.

Abstract: Some cool videos are available here.