Facebook has built acrobatic robots to install optical fiber cables
Facebook has built acrobatic robots to install optical fiber cables

Facebook, in cooperation with ULC Robotics, has developed an acrobatic robot that can be used to wrap optical fiber cables around medium voltage lines that usually serve most regions of the world at costs three to five times cheaper than building cables using conventional air fibers.

Karthik Yogeeswaran, a wireless systems engineer at Facebook Connectivity, said in a message: The idea for the project came after crossing rural areas in Africa, and indicated that spreading power line infrastructure is more common than the entire optical fiber cable in the country.

To reduce costs, Facebook needs to reduce the physical work required to wrap the fibers around the wire, Facebook robots must work online and can avoid obstacles preventing less power outages.

Maintaining the weight of the Bombyx acrobatic robot within the limits that a medium voltage power line can handle is a huge challenge. Since this limits the amount of fibers it can carry, the cable size should be reduced.

Yogiswaran said: The use of medium voltage cable as support increases many other challenges, such as: B. Voltage restrictions. The voltage of the medium voltage conductors can reach 35 kV, which may lead to degradation phenomena such as wires, partial discharge and strip folding.

The power cord can be exposed to high temperatures well above the typical melting point of the fiberglass ring, and the expansion of the power cord due to thermal changes and wind vibrations can strain the fibers.

The robot has a visual system to identify obstacles and control its movement, and it can lift the central part that contains the fiber and spinning system to move between obstacles, and the average total speed range of robotics design is included from 1.5 to 2 kilometers per day.

In developing countries, the total cost, including the use of acrobatic robots, ranges between $ 2 and $ 3 per square meter. Facebook predicts that by reducing the total cost of deploying air fibers, the system will have a major impact on the Internet, especially in half of the world's countries for less than $ 5 a day.

Facebook claims that the system uses electrical networks to build an internet infrastructure that is cheaper than the current method of providing internet cables, which helps achieve the overall goal of increasing internet connectivity through (Facebook Connect).

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