Reading about new energy efficient technologies that can transform the world to a cleaner and greener place, with a lot less emissions and minimal air pollution, can never be tiresome and uninteresting.
Probably this is one of the main reasons why scientists continue exploring and developing techniques and gadgets that can rely less on fossil fuel generated electricity, while still fulfilling our user needs and improving our high-tech experience. Along these lines, scientists at Fudan University, Shanghai, worked day and night to bring the highly anticipated wi-fi connectivity from a light bulb, a.k.a. li-fi, much closer to its implementation. Here are the details.
Li-fi is a technology that has been in a process of development for quite some time now. The reason why it is so attractive is the unlimited capacity of visible light, which is thousands of times bigger than the radio signal, currently used in wi-fi. It holds the potential to be much more energy efficient and way cheaper, solely because of the nature of LED bulbs, and the fact that the infrastructure, which supports them, is already in place.
According to Chi Nan, a professor at Fudan University and leader in the study, one microchipped LED bulb can generate data speed of as much as 150 megabits per second. In addition, a standard one-watt LED bulb should be able to provide net connectivity to four standard working computers. If this is really true, it means that such li-fi will be much better than any of the currently available broadband connections in China.
As great as li-fi technology might be, there is one main limitation, which somehow cannot be left unmentioned. The transmission of the signal relies on visible light, which cannot pass through walls. This means that if the light is blocked, the internet signal is gone. Of course, supporters of the technology argue that this can only mean a “good-bye” to all these drive-by hackings of wireless internet.
However, this great achievement by the Chinese team, surprised quite a number of experts in the field, including the inventors of the idea- Prof Harald Haas, from University if Edinburgh, and a CEO of PureVLC. The reason for this is that apparently the Chinese team has not provided the needed evidence or demonstration, required to convince the developers at PureVLC, who, since 2011, have had one and only aim- to improve and realize the li-fi technology.
In her defense, professor Chi emphasized on the fact that the technology is still being tested, and some developments are needed on microchip design and optical communication levels. The professor and her team are hoping to be demonstrating the fully functioning li-fi system on 5th of November in Shanghai during the China International Industry Fair.