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Facebook's Connectivity Lab: Drones, satellites and lasers, oh my!

The social media giant is veering back into the real world -- at least to some extent -- with an update on another ambitious project: Internet.org.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Facebook shocked everyone earlier this week with its surprise $2 billion purchase of 3D gaming and virtual reality tech startup Oculus.

Now the social media giant is veering back into the real world—at least to some extent—with an update on another ambitious project: Internet.org.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company unveiled its new Connectivity Lab, a special team tasked with designing the aerospace and communication components behind Internet.org, which aims to bring Internet access to virtually anyone and everyone on the planet.

The Connectivity Lab is staffed by the same engineering talent behind Facebook's infrastructure team as well as the Open Compute Project.

As described by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself in a blog post on Thursday, the Connectivity Lab's intended mediums for delivering that Internet access reads more like the stuff of a science fiction film than a global networking model: drones, satellites, and lasers.

Zuckerberg provided a pulse check on Internet.org, which he asserted has already brought three million more people online over the last year:

Our team has many of the world's leading experts in aerospace and communications technology, including from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center. Today we are also bringing on key members of the team from Ascenta, a small UK-based company whose founders created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world’s longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. They will join our team working on connectivity aircraft.

For a closer look at Facebook's Connectivity Lab and the next steps for Internet.org, check out the promo clip below:

Image via Internet.org

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