Smart Lighting Can Turn LED Lights into WiFi Hotspots

LED as wifi image

Images via Boston University

Everyone is a smarty pants. A research team at Boston University is developing a whole new way to use LEDs for more than just energy-efficient lighting. They're creating Smart Lighting, which would enable wireless communication through visibile light.

led lighting as wifi hotspot image

Ditching radio frequency, the prototype from BU uses light instead to connect. Each light would essentially be a Wi-Fi hotspot with 1 to 10 megabits per second networking speeds. Data transmission would be done over existing electrical wiring.

"Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with
you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires," said BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little.

I like imagining that.

The Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center is part of an $18.5 million, multi-year NSF program awarded to Boston University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of New Mexico. Their task is to develop this awesome way to use lighting as a method of wireless communication over the next 10 years.

The possibility of using LED rather than radio waves boosts the potential for energy efficiency. Another interesting point brought up is that since light doesn't go through walls, wireless evesdropping is limited.

Even cooler, it can potentially be used in the transportation industry. Imagine — Smart cars with Smart lights. Clever.

led as wifi communication image

Via Boston University
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