Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chinese Scientists Create LiFi (Light Powered Internet)

Move over WiFi; successful experiments by a group of Xinhua, Shanghai based scientists have implied the possibilities of improving China’s online means by using the signals sent by light bulbs. This technology is called LiFi, a wireless communication using light as a carrier in place of the usual radio frequencies. This has the advantage of being able to use internet even near electromagnetic sensitive locations such as nuclear power plants and aircrafts, without causing any interference.

Earlier this month we reported about an experiment conducted by Chi Nan, a professor in Fudan University, Shanghai. Four computers in a one-wattage LED light were connected to the internet. Chi disclosed that a light bulb with inserted microchips was able to generate data rates with a speed of 150 mbps, faster than typical broadband in China. Chi under the information technology department of his university, is leading the research team for LiFi. This team includes researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics. Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh was the first to demonstrate how a light bulb fitted with signal processing technology could stream high definition video to a computer. But his company released a statement suggesting they were just as surprised as everyone else about Chi’s claims of the connection speed.
LiFi offers a practical and resourceful solution for the local Chinese broadband. Chi reveals that the present wireless signal transmission is costly and inefficient. A big percentage of energy is also wasted on cell phone base stations, which consumes a lot of electricity on their cooling systems. Compared to these stations, there can be limitless number of light bulbs which can produce better broadband signals without consuming a lot of energy.
However, the team of scientists knew that this innovation still has a long way to go to be successful commercially.
“Wherever there is an LED light bulb, there is an Internet signal,” Chi says. However, turning off the light cuts the signal. Light, unlike radio frequencies, cannot go through walls. “If the light is blocked,” Chi continues, “The signal will be cut off”
Netizens are already anticipating the 10 sample kits which will be on display at the China International Industry Fair which will be launched on November 5 in Shanghai. LiFi is still under an experimental period.


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