Off the Shelf LiFi Solution

A breakthrough new kind of wireless Internet http://www.ted.com/talks/harald_haas_a_breakthrough_new_kind_of_wireless_internet

So I was browsing through TED this morning and came across this gem. Haas (the inventor) claims he can get transmission speeds of 50+ mbits/second, which as he notes is better speed than most wireless systems.

There are two ways the system works.

  1. Microfluctuations in existing light sources (street lights). The fluctuations are too small to be seen by the naked eye, and so would not impair visibility, but would allow for downstream communication from the light source to the device attached to the solar panel. Modern solar panels are sensitive enough to be able to both charge and receive data. What was most interesting to me was that fog or other blockage, while they reduced the energy received by the solar panel, did not stop or gravely impede the data flow. Anyway the implications of this for me is that if you had LED lights in your house, say a central light in each room, with a carrier signal for each light, the cameras on your phone and computer would surely be sensitive enough to allow for downstream data transmission.

  2. Longer range laser pointers could paint houses from considerable distances, though he didn’t really clarify what those distances were 100 Yards? 500 Yards? A Mile? What is interesting is that while power absorbtion varies with angle, the demo claimed that data transmission did not, so if you could “paint” the panel from any angle which allows you to hit the photosensitive side, you can transmit data. This immediately suggests itself to me as a mesh solution, for line of sight between houses with solar panels. This is particularly true if they can get it to work with light frequencies which are not as obvious or as light-polluting as bright white.

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This is excellent. By utilizing the visual spectrum, if I understand this correctly, they completely remove the inherent danger in wifi: microwave radiation. If you look it up, you can see that cell-phones and wifi are actually kind of dangerous. Manufacturers recommend you NEVER let their cell phone products get closer than a couple inches to any part of your body…how are you supposed to hold the things? But using this technology completely gets around all that!

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Yes this does sound very awesome and exciting :smiley:

I could see it working great for desktop computers, that you aren’t holding in your hand and always moving around (would be hard to maintain that line of sight to the light source with a phone, etc)

Well, if you had a little omnidirectional camera, a bubble of glass which directs light from almost any direction toward the photoreceptor. Because you don’t need an accurate picture, just an ability to locate a light source and observe relative variations in the strength of that source.

Then that would allow near 360 degree coverage, unless you physically covered the camera.

Actually, given the two cameras on most phones, you might be able to do it with just a little wide angle lensing on them.

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This site had a handful of threads on LiFi and line of site optical for SAFE mesh phones and cord cutters and the way to put the network on alternate hardware overnight. Like to see it on cars. We couple Lifi with software defined radio in a mesh phone and we’ve got it. But outdoor lifi bulb indirectly crossing over lapping hooked to data over power in home could wire up neighborhoods quickly.

What are the implications for centralized services like ISPs, router companies, etc.?

If we can cut them out of the loop hopefully they are gone or massively price corrected and made more neutral.

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