Li-fi: Data through illumination

David K. Israel

Soon, you’ll be able to go onlight instead of online. Li-fi is coming and it might be the death of Wi-fi. In fact, we already have the technology to transmit data, even hi-def video, through light beams. It’s just a question of making it available to devices.

So how does it work? Simple! The new LEDs flicker and transmit the series of ones and zeros. When the LED is on, it’s transmitting a digital 1. Off = digital 0. And the flickering happens so quickly, we mere mortals can’t detect it.

Now, you might say to yourself, who wants to keep lights on in the house in the middle of the day just to watch a YouTube video? Well, they claim that with his technology, one can dim down the lights to the point where the average person can’t even detect that they’re on, while still transmitting data. Check out the video below to hear Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh describing how it works in more detail. I recommend skipping ahead to about 5 minutes in.