News

Pennsylvania State University, 27 January 2010

San Francisco -- Light is better than radio waves when it comes to some wireless communications, according to Penn State engineers. Optical communications systems could provide faster, more secure communications with wider bandwidth and would be suitable for restricted areas like hospitals, aircraft and factories.

Sending information via light waves either in physical light guides or wirelessly is not new, but existing wireless systems either require direct line of sight or are diffused and have low signal strength. The researchers chose to take a different approach using multi-element transmitters and multi-branch optical receivers in a quasi-diffuse configuration.

 

The Guardian, 26 February 2009

Professor Thomas Little of Boston University would like your house lighting to communicate with your computer, TV, and even the heating thermostat. By piggybacking data communications on to LED lightbulbs, he hopes "smart lighting" will become the next generation of wireless communications technology. But has it got a hope against existing technologies?

The idea of modulating light for signalling isn't new. Think of signallers using Aldis lamps; or even your TV remote's invisible infrared LED. The replacement of existing bulbs with low-energy LEDs reduces carbon emissions while offering an opportunity for smart lighting.

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Engineering & Technology Magazine, 8 November 2008

Can visible-light communications help expand wireless technology beyond the limitations of the radio-frequency spectrum?

You’ve probably heard that the days of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs are numbered. What you probably haven’t heard is that the light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that will soon replace them will not only be helping light your way; they will also be broadcasting digital information to help your gadgets communicate with each other and the Internet.

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Science Daily, 16 October 2008

Boston University's College of Engineering is a partner launching a major program, under a National Science Foundation grant, to develop the next generation of wireless communications technology based on visible light instead of radio waves.

Researchers expect to piggyback data communications capabilities on low-power light emitting diodes, or LEDs, to create "Smart Lighting" that would be faster and more secure than current network technology.

"Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires," said BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little. "This could be done with an LED-based communications network that also provides light – all over existing power lines with low power consumption, high reliability and no electromagnetic interference. Ultimately, the system is expected to be applicable from existing illumination devices, like swapping light bulbs for LEDs."

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Science A Gogo, 7 October 2008

The next generation of wireless communications technology will use visible light instead of radio waves, with data piggybacking on interior lighting systems which researchers say will offer both greater speed and better security than today's radio networks. Boston University's College of Engineering (BU) is developing the "smart lighting" system using low-power light emitting diodes (LEDs) that can be switched on and off so rapidly that the change is imperceptible to the human eye.

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AZoOptics, 7 October 2008

Boston University's College of Engineering is a partner launching a major program, under a National Science Foundation grant, to develop the next generation of wireless communications technology based on visible light instead of radio waves. Researchers expect to piggyback data communications capabilities on low-power light emitting diodes, or LEDs, to create "Smart Lighting" that would be faster and more secure than current network technology.

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Tech Crunchies, 23 June 2010

Transmitting data via light is hardly anything new, but what about sending and receiving information via visible light? Tokyo-based start-up Outstanding Technology is currently working on a system that uses visible LED light for the transmission of data and audio signals.

And because LED lighting may replace both incandescent and fluorescent lighting one day, the company expects “lighting infrastructure to become communication infrastructure” in the near future.

Outstanding Technology’s system makes it possible to set up a PC that accesses the web via LEDs and light receivers alone (see the video embedded below for a demo), for example. The company says in tests, it succeeded in voice transmission over a distance of 13km. Apparently, data transmission speed can reach up to 160Mbps.

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