If you haven’t heard about Li-Fi just yet the following things may be quite astounding. Li-Fi also known as Light Fidelity is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system that runs wireless communications through common household LED lights bulbs.
Li-Fi claims to be 100 times faster than standard Wi-Fi and boasts speeds of up to 224 gigabits per second. The term Li-Fi itself was thought of by Professor Harald Haas of the University of Edinburgh. He had been envisioning these lightbulbs that could act as wireless routers for quite some time and in 2012 was able to set up a company known as pureLiFi with the intentions of becoming the leader in Visible Light Communications Technology.
According to Techworld Li-Fi works as follows:
As we now know, Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system. This means that it accommodates a photodetector to receive light signals and a signal processing element to convert the data into ‘streamable’ content.
An LED light bulb is a semiconductor light source meaning that the constant current of electricity supplied to an LED light bulb can be dipped and dimmed, up and down at extremely high speeds, without being visible to the human eye.
For example, data is fed into an LED light bulb (with signal processing technology), it then sends data (embedded in its beam) at rapid speeds to the photo-detector (photodiode).
The tiny changes in the rapid dimming of LED bulbs are then converted by the ‘receiver’ into an electrical signal.
The signal is then converted back into a binary data stream that we would recognize as web, video and audio applications that run on internet enabled devices.
Below you can see an illustration of how Li-Fi could be used in an office setting. As you can see the data is being transmitted by the ambient LED lights. This uses VLC as described above.
In his Ted Talk back in 2011 Harald Haas said as follows:
“All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine the two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission.”
That seems to be exactly what they did. The initial applications of Li-Fi are without a doubt far beyond astounding. Not only does this new method of transferring data provide a safer version of technology it also can be used for a number of different things in the future. To hear Haas speak about this amazing technology while it was still in the baby stages please check out the video below. While there is still a lot of work to be done in time people everywhere may be using Li-Fi.
(Image Credit: SK Energy)