Forget Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is the New Way of Transmitting Data

At the recently concluded TED event in Edinburg Scotland, a German scientist, Harald Haas, said he has come up with a solution he calls “data through illumination”. The solution sends data through a LED lightbulb that varies in intensity faster than the human eye can follow. It’s the same idea behind infrared remote controls, but far more powerful.

Haas argues that with the world having more than 1.4 Million cellular base stations and 5 billion mobile phones while the high frequency spectrum for sending data like LTE running out, the frequently available light bulbs can solve this. These mobile phone transmit more than 600TB of data per month.

We transmit data using radio waves which are expensive, scarce and limited in range while also consuming a lot of energy. It is said that most base stations are only 5% energy efficient since most of the energy is not used in transmitting waves but in cooling the base stations. Radio waves can also be easily intercepted.

But in the other sense we have more than 14 Billion bulbs in the world. Light is part of the electro-magnetic spectrum. With that we have 10,000 more spectrum if we use light in transmitting data than what we have now. And we have 1.4 Million base stations and 14 billion light bulbs which means that we have 10,000 more in infrastructure if we use light bulbs to trasmit data. The only thing we need to do is replace the incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs and install a small micro chip on the bulbs for data transmission.

Cool? The same technology is used in remote controls. He Harald even demostrated the technology. You can imagine all the applications from aeroplanes, traffic lights to even sea communications. It is just a very interesting technology which will draw lots of interests.

You can watch from the video below.

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Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (


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