Light Data Transmission

Light Data Transmission attempts to transfer information using visible light.

The Visible Light Communications Consortium are proposing using light-emitting diodes to turn ordinary household fixtures such as light bulbs, televisions, or even flashlights into data transmission tools. Soon, it may be possible for a person trapped in a burning building to hold up a cell phone to a light fixture in order to notify firefighters of his or her danger. Entire movies will be able to be transferred from one television to the next in seconds just through refracting light waves bouncing between the two televisions. Even headlights on cars could warn the driver of upcoming traffic or road blockage.

The notion was presented approximately seven years ago, and approximately two years ago, it was being demonstrated at a tech show. As of now, the Consortium is attempting to transform that notion into a concept...and from that concept, an idea. Although there are no concrete plans yet, some companies are extremely serious about making it into a standard. The experts plan to use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to transfer the data. The energy will be harnessed modulators, which essentially cut up the data and reproduce it in binary (1s and 0s) format so a computer can recognize the data. LEDs are much faster than fluorescent light and fiber optic light as they travel at up to 500 mega bits per second.

Experts from the Visible Light Communications Consortium also agree that data transmission through light emitting diodes possesses many advantages in relationship to wireless communication technologies. Light data transmission has security advantages because it is more difficult to intercept without detection than electrical data transmission. Also, privacy is not an issue with light data transmission. If you don’t want someone snooping in your business, just close the door—after all, light can’t pass through opaque objects. The concept still needs a lot of work, though. For instance, the prototypes still require a clear line-of-sight between the transmitter and the receiver; but it is known that light is still susceptible to refraction or diffraction.


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