What if every light bulb in the world could also transmit data?
Wi-Fi speed frustratingly slow? Why not utilise the speed of light and a common LED bulb? At TEDGlobal Dr. Harald Haas demonstrated for the first time, a device that can do exactly that.
Sounding more like an April fool’s gag than a serious proposal to increase data speed, Li-Fi is a burgeoning technology that promises great things.
Li-Fi is a VLC (Visible Light Communication) technology developed by German Physicist Dr. Gordon Povey, Prof. Harald Haas and Dr Mostafa Afgani plus a team of scientists at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Harald Haas calls it “Data Through Illumination” and he is able to stream high-definition video from a regular LED lamp.
By flickering the light from a single LED, a change too quick for the human eye to detect, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower, moreover it can be achieved in a way that’s more efficient, secure and widespread.
“It is typically implemented using white LED light bulbs. These devices are normally used for illumination by applying a constant current through the LED. However, by fast and subtle variations of the current, the optical output can be made to vary at extremely high speeds. Unseen by the human eye, this variation is then used to carry high-speed data,” says Dr. Povey, Product Manager of the University of Edinburgh’s Li-Fi Programme ‘D-Light Project’.
Dr. Haas envisions your future home where data for your smart device (laptop, smart-phone, tablet, etc.) would be transmitted by light, which has beneficial ramifications for security too, because if the light cannot be seen the data cannot be accessed.