Li-Fi: Inventor hailed for light bulb wi-fi

Dec 21, 2011

A University of Edinburgh engineer has been named among the top inventors in the world in high-profile publications.

Both TIME and the Huffington Post’s reviews of the world’s best new technologies have featured Professor Harald Haas’ system of wirelessly transmitting an internet signal through LED light bulbs.

Professor Haas’ team has taken advantage of the fact that LED lights may be switched on and off many times per second, to develop their technique, known as Li-Fi.

The system uses electronics to harness the variable light intensity in the bulbs to transmit data wirelessly.

TIME magazine described Professor Haas’ idea as among the top 50 inventions of the year. The magazine said: ‘Like many other great , Haas developed a solution [to carrying increasing amounts of data] using things we have in abundance: chiefly the world’s 14 billion light bulbs.’

In an article in the Huffington Post, Li-Fi was listed among 18 groundbreaking ideas to watch in 2012. Professor Haas was invited to contribute a blog entry for the Post’s website.

Li-Fi was developed as an alternative to carrying data on radio frequencies, which are becoming increasingly crowded with the growth in smartphone and tablet PC use.

The system has unique advantages in that it can be used in areas where radio frequency is not desirable.

This includes hospitals, or where radio frequency simply cannot be used, such us underwater.

The system also benefits from an existing lighting infrastructure and therefore does require huge investments.

It also offers greater security by keeping the internet signal inside the room in which the light is being used.

The University has spun-out a company, VLC, to commercialise the idea.

"We are heading to saturation point in terms of how efficiently we can use the spectrum. The only way out of this is to find new ways to transmit data wirelessly." said Professor Harald Haas.

Explore further: SensaBubble: It's a bubble, but not as we know it (w/ video)

Provided by University of Edinburgh

4.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study finds sick kids have fewer friends

Dec 07, 2010

A new study reveals that sick teens are more isolated than other kids, but they do not necessarily realize it and often think their friendships are stronger than they actually are.

Recommended for you

A smart prosthetic knee with in-vivo diagnoses

Apr 22, 2014

The task was to develop intelligent prosthetic joints that, via sensors, are capable of detecting early failure long before a patient suffers. EPFL researchers have taken up the challenge.

Old tires become material for new and improved roads

Apr 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —Americans generate nearly 300 million scrap tires every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Historically, these worn tires often end up in landfills or, when illegally ...

Students take clot-buster for a spin

Apr 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —In the hands of some Rice University senior engineering students, a fishing rod is more than what it seems. For them, it's a way to help destroy blood clots that threaten lives.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Pattern_chaser
not rated yet Dec 21, 2011
The antidote to wireless frequency congestion?
dirk_bruere
not rated yet Dec 21, 2011
IBM had a patent on such a system circa 1980
packrat
1 / 5 (1) Dec 26, 2011
Very old idea but yet not a bad one for the purpose intended. People have been using light links for at least 35 years that I know of.

More news stories

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.