This balloon-mounted turbine churns out both electricity and Wi-Fi

Credit: Altaeros

Looking like a wayward jet engine, this floating turbine and its brethren could someday travel to every remote corner of the globe. There, they could deliver electricity and Internet connectivity to people and villages living off-the-grid. Unlike their jet-propelling doppelgangers, however, these turbines are going to need a bit of help getting from point A to B.

Think of these floating turbines as the wind farms of the future and you won't be that far off. Developed by Altaeros energies, the floating turbines are designed to take advantage of the powerful prevailing winds that exist 2,000 feet above our heads. Once they've been inflated and deployed, these floating power plants can generate twice the output of a ground-based turbine. The tethers that keep the turbine anchored in place also send that energy ground-ward.

While in the air, the turbines can also serve as Wi-Fi, cell service hubs, and weather monitoring stations. Furthermore, the turbine's helium-inflated housing is durable enough for deployment in either the blazing sun or freezing snow. Basically, anywhere you install one of these suckers, you instantly get data coverage, electricity and local weather data, even if your previous system involved a sun dial and carrier pigeons. The things even have a cool name: the BAT. Heck, we've already got Wi-Fi and we'd like one of these floating above the DVICE offices.

Altaeros, via Designboom

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