LED lamps are becoming more and more common in offices, homes and cars taillights. They are energy savvy and scientists have found ways to increase the color gamut.
Now, the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany is about to present a way to use LED lamps for communications at high speed!
Basically they are modulating the signal on the visible light (VLC: Visible Light Communications) using a technique developed jointly with Siemens and Telecom Orange Labs.
They are able to modulate up to 100 Mbps, more than enough to deliver four HD movies to four screens in a room. What it takes, on the terminal side, is a photoreceptor diode, a devices that cost a few pennies (make it a few dollars once you are packaging it).
There are several applications the Fraunhofer researchers list in their press release (they will be presenting the device in September at a Berlin fair). Among them they indicate creating a communication fabric in hospitals and on planes, ambient where radio communications may be banned because of possible interference problems. The visible light, photons, does not interfere at all.
But I can also imagine museums lights illuminating a masterpiece and at the same time providing information about it, or some monuments where illumination can double up as communication…
Interesting twist on something we just took for granted!