Back in 2011 during a Ted-Talk the audience was introduced to a new way of wireless communication called Li-Fi. Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity, as professor Harald Haas of Edinburgh university defines it, the man responsible for its conceivement, creation, development and commercialisation to the public. Li-Fi is wireless communication based on light. A new way of perceiving transmission of digital signals that will soon be made available to the public and stands to surpass current WiFi speeds by a factor of one hundred.
What we perceive daily as light comprises only the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Simply put, waves are all around us and it is only through the appropriate filter that we choose to view the world and receive information. All technology is and probably will be either an imitation or extension of life. For humans it is the eye that serves both as the receiver to perceive the cosmos around us but as a filter that will select only the information the brain chooses. Much in the same principle Li-Fi technology does the same. All it needs is a source of light , that we use to illuminate space either way, a device that readjusts and transmits the invisible to us flickering of light in an organised stream of data and a receiver that can make sense of the data.
What most people don’t realise is that Wi-Fi actually is a type of Radio Frequency transmittance. This is also the reason that Wi-fi can penetrate walls and disperse around the house. Although the inherent security flaws that this entrails it is a positive and useful trait for our everyday lives around the house or place of work. We need to be flexible , move around and still always feel that we are connected. Having the sense that we are connected all the time provides us with the assurance that we are not missing out on any update in our lives. In turn when it is time to be productive and take action we ever yearn for more. More speed, more connectivity, more efficiency. Li-Fi might be the answer to that. In this sense Li-Fi technology provides an organic evolution that may very well suit not only our collective need for improvement but also our way of life and process.
Those technically inclined are aware of the hinders of radio communications as well as the inherent efficiency and security flaws. Then there is speed. Oscillation of electrons can never surpass the speeds of visible light and when information needs to be passed along a series of nodes there is always an inherent loss of resources. Simply put, the photon is to the electron what a bullet is to the spear. Only Li-fi can be used as a machinegun where transfer of data can be done simultaneously on multiple spectrums.
Physical space, our space, our living room is ever changing. Through our lives new technologies come and go, new protocols of communicating with one another. What stays the same is that we will always think of space the same. Individuality, the space we sit in to have our morning coffee, the place that we have lunch as a family or the space that we entertain ourselves on a lazy Sunday. This technology is an extension of that. Wherever light is, a physical space can be claimed, one that connects us ever more efficient and in a more natural way. So maybe one day a space devoted to be connected will exist as well inside the living room where one could go when he needs to talk to family over high definition much as we climb on our chair in front of our laptop nowadays despite having a telephone right beside us.
A complementary function along with a Wi-Fi signal that will serve as the basis for connectivity seems to be the most promising of applications. Where, Li-Fi will be used locally and Wi-Fi will undertake when communicable light is not able to. The infrastructure is there to begin with, all we need to do is adjust and calibrate to facilitate for LiFi transmitters. But Li-Fi technology has one prerequisite , it relies on the fact that there must always be a connection for it to work. Even so, by reflection of light along surfaces Li-Fi has shown to be able to transmit to the speeds of 70 Gigabits per second.
One could argue the fact for when most transfer of data happens during the day when people are productive at their work place or in our leisure when we go home and want to watch a movie with our favorite people. Fact of the matter is that we get frustrated all the same if a business skype call is of poor quality as if the image is blurry on our live stream.
Li-Fi communication and protocols show promise of application in the near future to the extent that our daily lives around the house may yet again change. Much as the name itself reflects all users have to do is stay in the light. One of the most natural and organic conditions for us to be in. Professor Haas puts this into a broader perspective.
“In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fi’s deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even a brighter future.”