If a consortium of universities in the United Kingdom meet their goal, a technology to deliver internet communications will be created that could simultaneously be used to provide lighting and used as information displays.
Li-Fi technology, or transmissions of internet communications that use visible light instead of radio or microwaves like current Wi-Fi, was the inspiration for the new concept. The consortium plans to build upon and expand from this technology.
LED bulbs flicker thousands of times per second, a rate imperceptible to the human eye, and Li-Fi leverages the rate of flicker. Digital information can be transmitted to smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices almost like a digital Morse code.
The consortium’s technology builds upon Li-Fi by using micro-LEDs that are 1000 times smaller than those used in Li-Fi. The faster flicker means data could be transmitted more quickly while fitting into the space occupied by a single larger 1mm2 LED.
Micron-sized LEDs would function as small pixels and one large LED display could double as a display screen while simultaneously providing internet communications and room lighting.
If successful, this will lead to energy-saving parallelism, and experts believe this technology could be ubiquitous within 10 years.