The hope is to improve internet infrastructure through the robot that swiftly moves along power lines and deploys long lines of fiber-optic cable.
Short of sending more satellites into Space in order to improve internet connectivity around the world, just like SpaceX’s Starlink mission has done, Facebook is taking another tactical angle to the matter.
Facebook announced on Monday that it has developed a robot that travels along existing power lines and deploys a Facebook-made fiber-optic cable along its way.
The company believes that this will be a more affordable method to lay down internet cables, particularly in developing countries.
In order to create the fiber-optic cables, Facebook worked with Wayne Kachmar, also known as “veteran cable designer.” ULC Robotics helped Facebook build its robots.
ULC Robotics’ research and development project manager, Jon Kuriloff, stated that “There are really two central innovations. The first is that there’s an innovative fiber optic cable design that’s resistant to damage.”
“The other central innovation is the robotics system, which will allow the fiber optic cable to be transported along medium voltage distribution lines. Marrying those two technologies enables you to run fiber in a way that couldn’t be done previously.”
The robot works in a pretty neat way. It rotates the spool around the electrical cables, and if it encounters any obstacles along its path it simply hoists itself above it and continues on its merry way.