SoftBank Mobile wants to be prepared when the next disaster strikes. Following the earthquake and tsunami on March 2011 that left the communications networks struggling to cope, the Japanese carrier started working on a backup solution… and they came with an elegant way to keep the networks running.
The emergency relay system uses a balloon and a satellite to restore mobile phone coverage in areas affected by natural disasters. This communications balloon is tethered to a vehicle-mounted relay station when deployed, providing coverage for around 3km from their anchor point.
The tests were conducted in Aichi Prefecture and since everything apparently works like a charm, the plan is to deploy 10 of these units across the country by the end of the month.
Pretty cool though we hope it won’t be needed at all…