Google’s Moonshot Factory
“As the polymath engineers and scientists who work there are fond of saying, Google X is the search giant’s factory for moonshots, those million-to-one scientific bets that require generous amounts of capital, massive leaps of faith, and a willingness to break things. Google X (the official spelling is Google [x]) is home to the self-driving car initiative and the Internet-connected eyeglasses, Google Glass, among other improbable projects.”
Some of the projects that have passed Google’s way include:
Airborne Wind-power Generators
The Makani AWT is a tethered, autonomous rigid-wing fitted with onboard turbines for power generation. Flying in circles at 1,000 feet (300 meters), the system mimics the motion, and speed, of a conventional turbine’s aerodynamically effective blade tips. Pictured is the Wing 7 flying in June 2012. Google bought Makani in May 2013.
Photo by Makani Power
Google’s augmented reality head mounted display as glasses.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons (Tedeytan)
Google’s Multigenerational Nerd Fantasy: Space Elevators
Google’s Lexus RX 450h Self-Driving Car
Artist concept of a space elevator.
Ballon-based Broadband Transmitters
Google Loon launch event of June 16, 2013 was a test of the use of high-altitude balloons to bring internet access to undeveloped parts of the world. The initiative never progressed beyond the experimental stage.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons (iLighter)