Researchers in China use light bulbs as a speedy alternative to Wi-Fi

By on October 18, 2013, 6:00 PM
china, lightbulb, light bulb, wireless internet, wi-fi lightbulb, li-fi

Scientists at Shanghai's Institute of Technical Physics have developed a light bulb that produces its own Wi-Fi signal. Aptly named Li-Fi, the connection it produces is said to actually work better than the average wireless connection in China. Talk about a bright idea!

A one-watt LED bulb permits up to four nearby computers to connect to the Internet using light frequencies instead of radio waves. On the technical side, we are told the bulb is embedded with a chip that produces a signal capable of wireless speeds up to 150 Mbps which is much faster than most networks in the country.

If the idea of the technology alone wasn’t cool enough, another benefit is the fact that it’s affordable. All you need is a light bulb and the Li-Fi kit.

Of course, it’s still in an early testing phase as there are a number of hurdles that still need to be overcome. For example, it doesn’t work when the bulb is off (kind of a given, no?) nor does it work if the bulb is blocked. What’s more, a good bit of work still needs to be done in terms of light communication controls and the microchip design / manufacturing.

Outside of light bulb usage, the technology could have practical implications in other areas such as with car headlights or focused light to transmit data. Researchers plan to showcase the technology at the Shanghai International Industry Fair November 5 with 10 kits on hand.




User Comments: 13

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JC713 JC713 said:

This is so cool.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Scenario: Playing some online game, whatever you fancy, your doing good when all of a sudden your cat/dog/pet of choice walks in front of the light source resulting in a dropped connection. Instinctively most gamers will then remove said animal by any means necessary, open window? Waste basket? heck its china maybe you'll eat your pet, joking of course on the last one, anything will do to go back to gaming. Cool bit of tech none the less, might be useful for sending connection to remote area.

1 person liked this | Lionvibez said:

Scenario: Playing some online game, whatever you fancy, your doing good when all of a sudden your cat/dog/pet of choice walks in front of the light source resulting in a dropped connection. Instinctively most gamers will then remove said animal by any means necessary, open window? Waste basket? heck its china maybe you'll eat your pet, joking of course on the last one, anything will do to go back to gaming. Cool bit of tech none the less, might be useful for sending connection to remote area.

umm this shouldn't happen unless your pets walk on the ceiling

Guest said:

Filament bulbs are banned in many EU countries due to their inefficiency, so I hope they develop an LED version.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

"If the idea of the technology alone wasn?t cool enough, another benefit is the fact that it?s affordable. All you need is a light bulb and the Li-Fi kit."

I don't know where you come from, but where I come from, affordability without a price quote is naturally dubious.

umm this shouldn't happen unless your pets walk on the ceiling

I knew a cat once that occasionally walked on the ceiling; walked upright when he was on the ground, too... Something wasn't right about him. Never could quite place it, though. Anyways, my point is that these things can happen. One minute you're enjoying some intense online gaming, the next you're ripping your hair out as your satanic kitty spitefully mocks you from above. Don't ever underestimate the potential frustration of pets.

Holyscrap said:

Filament bulbs are banned in many EU countries due to their inefficiency, so I hope they develop an LED version.

The technology uses an LED bulb, the picture is misleading.

Guest said:

Did you read the article friend? The first sentence states it's a "1 Watt LED" light bulb.;)

mosu said:

Cool light or warm light? because I like them warm...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I prefer them as white as possible.

treetops treetops said:

This is amazing. By the way most modern video games let you disconnect for a moment. Are those bums standing around a that barrel? No just kids getting wifi.

Guest said:

Ligh bulb, I just had an idea , lol. =)

Guest said:

An early testing phase

we use this 30 years ago, lol, not in test phase but daily working

back to the future

Guest said:

I wonder if the collaborated with this guy who presented the technology in 2011?

[link]

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