Harald Haas, a German physicist and the University of Edinburgh’s professor of mobile communications has developed a “smart lighting” kit that would make it possible to use existing lighting systems to transmit and receive data, reaching network speeds of up to 50 megabits per second. The system, dubbed “Li-Fi,” uses LEDs to transmit data to photo-sensor receivers by making changes in the intensity of light that researchers claim are so fast they are imperceptible to the human eye.
Professional Engineering reports that this wireless networking system that can handle up to 130 megabits per second of data transfer using light instead of radio waves. The team is now working in the lab to develop a Li-Fi system that could handle up to a gigabit per second of network traffic.
In a TED talk last year, Haas demonstrated a system prototype, and used a desk lamp (retrofitted with the appropriate LED equipment) to stream an HD movie in real time. Haas said that he hopes the technology can be integrated into mobile devices eventually, even harnessing the device’s camera as a data port for downloads.
So the future of wireless broadband is here, and it may or may not give you a headache. The flicker in your office lighting may someday soon be caused by data transmissions and not faulty fluorescent bulbs.