As radio-based wireless becomes ubiquitous, more and more devices transmitting more and more data are able to connect to the internet, either through the mobile-phone network or through Wi-Fi. But there is only a limited amount of radio spectrum available. The visable light spectrum is 10,000 times bigger - could we connect to the internet through that?
German Scientist Harold Hass says yes!
He and his team at the UK's University of Edinburgh, are the brains behind a new patented technology that uses beams of flickering light to transmit digital information wirelessly. Watch the video to see it in action!
"My big idea is to turn light bulbs into broadband communication devices ... so that they not only provide illumination, but an essential utility at the same time" he says.
How does it work? A microchip is added to any humble LED bulb, making it blink on and off at a phenomenal speed, millions of times per second. It's this capability that allows LEDs to transmit data in a rapid stream of binary code that, although invisible to the naked eye, can then be detected by a light-sensitive receiver.
Li-fi is not in competition with WiFi, Haas says, it is a complimentary technology that should eventually help free up much needed space within the radio wave spectrum.
There are some major advantages to having li-fi alongside Wi-fi. The implication is that wherever you have a light bulb -- and there are an estimated 14 billion of them worldwide -- you have the potential for a wireless Internet connection. Imagine, any street lamp could double up as a web hotspot!
via Make, Create, Innovate - a new strand on CCN International's Quest Means Business show.