Let There Be Li-Fi!

The Economist: “Li-Fi works with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), an increasingly popular way of illuminating homes and offices, and applies the same principle as that used by naval signal lamps … it encodes messages in flashes of light. It can be used to create a local-area network, or LAN, in a way similar to the LANs made possible by standard, microwave-based Wi-Fi.”

“Such LANs would … have two advantages over standard Wi-Fi. One is that light does not penetrate walls. A Li-Fi LAN in a windowless room is thus more secure than one using Wi-Fi, whose microwave signals pass easily through most building materials and can thus be listened to by outsiders. The other advantage is that light does not interfere with radio or radar signals in the way that microwaves sometimes do. Li-Fi can therefore be installed in hospitals, nuclear plants and other sites where Wi-Fi might create dangerous interference with electronic kit.”

“One business about to benefit from this selectivity is commercial aviation … It would mean that LANs could be set up in the cabin, distributing entertainment to passengers and permitting those with Li-Fi-equipped phones and computers to contact the outside world … The technology may even be co-opted as a navigation tool … to “eventually show passengers to, for instance, the correct baggage carousel for their flight. In the hypermarket they direct shoppers … to the locations of desired items.”

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