Wireless Fidelity, aka Wi-Fi is so 2013, or at least that’s how the engineers behind Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) see the future wireless data transmission. Let’s delve a little deeper into this fairly new concept and see how it can revolutionize the way we connect to the internet.
After working on his project for nearly 8 years, University of Edinburgh’s Professor Harald Haas showcased his idea publicly during a TED talk back in 2011.
His idea involves turning an ordinary LED light bulb in to a wireless broadband device by rigging it to radio microchip. This chip then controls how the LED light behaves; switching it on and off to produce signals similar to binary codes which is then deciphered by a receiver on the other end.
Professor Haas’ idea caught fire and led to a £4.7-million grant from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to fund his project. He’s now collaborating with a group of talented individuals from various Universities including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, St Andrews and Strathclyde.
Within the span of a year, Haas and his team has already covered a lot of grounds since they began to work together under the Ultra Parallel Visible Light Communications (UP-VLC) project and has recently made the headlines when they reported that they were able to reach transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s using only single micro-LED light bulb.
Apart from lightning fast speed, another feature of Li-Fi that Haas takes pride on is that it’s “potentially more secured than traditional Wi-Fi connection” because light doesn’t pass through walls. However, this strength can also be its biggest drawback as future users needs to always be within range of the Li-Fi device in order to establish wireless connection.
Li-Fi is still a work in progress, but I think that the team working on the project is headed in the right direction and it’s pretty exciting to see what they’ll come up with in the future.