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Economist: Visible Light Communication

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Goaldeje

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James Madison


Catching up on my reading since I've been gone, ran across this today. Pretty interesting stuff, especially at the end of the article, regarding airplane travel.

AMONG the many new gadgets unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a pair of smartphones able to exchange data using light. These phones, as yet only prototypes from Casio, a Japanese firm, transmit digital signals by varying the intensity of the light given off from their screens. The flickering is so slight that it is imperceptible to the human eye, but the camera on another phone can detect it at a distance of up to ten metres. In an age of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, flashing lights might seem like going back to sending messages with an Aldis lamp. In fact, they are the beginning of a fast and cheap wireless-communication system that some have labelled Li-Fi.

The data being exchanged by Casio’s phones were trifles: message balloons to be added to pictures on social-networking sites. But the firm sees bigger applications, such as pointing a smartphone at an illuminated shop sign to read information being transmitted by the light: opening times, for example, or the latest bargains.
http://www.economist.com/node/21543470
 

Goaldeje

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And another fascinating article:

Think of how Wi-Fi has made computing so much more convenient. It has untethered users from pesky cable connections to the internet, allowing them to wander around the home or office with laptop or tablet in hand, surfing the web, making free phone calls, sending files wirelessly to printers, video to tele*vision sets, and many more things. But what if Wi-Fi radio beams travelled not just a few hundred feet but stretched for several miles—and were unimpeded by trees, terrain and walls so that they could penetrate all the nooks and crannies within buildings? That is the promise of “white-space” wireless.

“White-space” is technical slang for television channels that were left vacant in one city so as not to interfere with TV stations broadcasting on adjacent channels in a neighbouring city. In the early days of television, America’s broadcasting authorities reserved 50 or so channels for TV stations. But because of worries about interference, no metropolitan area has ever come close to using all 50 channels at its disposal. In rural areas, vacant channels (ie, white-space) have frequently amounted to 70% or more of the total bandwidth available for television broadcasting.
http://www.economist.com/node/21536999
 

Elephant

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You were gone? :betterwink:
 

China

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Flickering screen, huh? That's all well and good until people start to have seizures.

And if it's light based then the range is limited to anything within visible range, any physical obstructions render it useless. Sounds like just a fancy version of the technology in a remote control for your TV.
 

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