Visible Light Communications: Past, Present & Future

Early this week the NYT Bits Blog reported on the new LED light-based communications systems currently in development. Though this isn’t (yet) in the scope of what we normally do and sell at LED Waves, we’ve been following this new direction, as it illustrates the ever-growing potential of LED technology. We first reported on this phenomenon back in early January, and then again in April this year.
 
This topic hit the more mainstream media after a recent TEDGlobal conference featuring University of Edinburgh professor Harald Haas. In a crowd-pleasing demonstration proving his LED light’s capacity to transmit video data, Haas waved his hand in front of the data receiver as well as turned it away from the light source, all of which paused the streaming video.
 
The Times took care to make the point that the idea of transmitting information through light is not new. Alexander Graham Bell kicked off the field of visible light communications in 1880 when he sent a wireless phone message through his Photophone. I assure you that looking up this invention on Wikipedia is well worth the time, if only for the neat images like this one:

Abe Lincoln sends out an APB for his missing hat.

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