Wireless data transfer via LED light

October 9, 2008 at 13:12 Leave a comment

The whizzkids at Boston university have developed a new cool way of data communiation: Wireless date transfer via LEDs. The idea itself dates back many years: think about the morse code, a set of short or long light flashes.

The technology they’re working on — the “next generation of wireless communications technology” — is based on visible light instead of radio waves. It is nicknamed SmartLighting.

“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. “This could be done with an LED-based communications network that also provides light – all over existing power lines with low power consumption, high reliability and no electromagnetic interference. Ultimately, the system is expected to be applicable from existing illumination devices, like swapping light bulbs for LEDs.”

This initiative, known as 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 to develop the optical communication technology that would make an LED light the equivalent of a WiFi access point. This innovative alternative may one day replace most of today’s lighting devices.

Rensselaer and UNM will work on creating novel devices along with systems applications to better understand the proliferation of smart lighting technologies plus materials needed for wireless devices to interface with the network. Together with BU, the three partners will have 30 faculty researchers plus students, postdoctoral researchers and visiting industry engineers as regular contributors to the research conducted by the Smart Lighting ERC.

Boston University researches will focus on developing computer networking applications, notably the solid state optical technology that will form the network’s backbone. Funding for the BU portion of the program is expected to total about $1 million per year for the next 10 years plus additional funding from industrial partners and possibly the formation of new businesses by entrepreneurs.

More info:

http://smartlighting.bu.edu

http://www.silobreaker.com

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Entry filed under: Technology.

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