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Facebook engineers have created a robot capable of offline laying fiber-optic communication lines through power cables (VIDEO)

Facebook engineers, in collaboration with UCL Robotics, have created an innovative robot that can independently lay fiber-optic cables through electric cables. The developers believe that such robots may be in demand to provide high-speed Internet to remote regions in poor countries.


Traditional methods of laying optical fiber involve a serious investment of money and time. Facebook decided to reconsider existing approaches and suggested winding Internet cables onto electrical wires. A similar technology has existed since the 1980s, but it is used to a limited extent, because winding devices can pass only one span on their own, and they need operator intervention to move through the support, writes Facebook engineering .

In the process of working on the project, the engineers managed to solve this and other problems of the unpopular technology. Thus, the design of the robot, consisting of a central rotating part with a cable and a winding bar and two side parts responsible for the movement of the robot, allows the robot to overcome supports and other obstacles without outside help. In addition, the horseshoe-shaped cable magazine during rotation almost does not shift the center of gravity of the robot and can accommodate more than one kilometer of cable. Fiber optic cable has also been developed for the system, featuring increased strength and lower weight compared to conventional fiber optic cables.


The creators of the robot believe that in the future such robots can be used in different countries, and pickups with an automated system for installing the robot on a power line and a cable reserve will be used for their transportation. According to engineers, the cost of laying fiber optic lines using a robot and taking into account all the costs will be approximately $ 2-3 per kilometer. Facebook has already agreed with NetEquity Networks to build a test commercial line.

Recall that in early July, the Loon company (part of the Alphabet holding, which owns Google) officially launched a commercial Internet access service in Kenya using stratospheric balloons. His testing began this spring. Now a fleet of about 35 stratospheric balloons provides access to the 4G LTE network in a total area of ​​about 50 thousand square kilometers, which includes the capital of Nairobi, as well as western and central regions of Kenya.

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