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'Li-fi?' Light bulbs with Wi-Fi invented by Chinese

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Called "li-fi," the Chinese have invented a light bulb that emits Wi-Fi, wireless Internet connectivity that one usually enjoys in coffee shops and cafes. The brain child of Shanghai's Fudan University, the prototype actually works better than the average Internet connection in China.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Its inventors say that as many as four computers placed near a Li-Fi bulb can connect to the Internet. The device uses light frequencies rather than the usual radio waves.

Embedded with a microchip that produces a signal, the light bulb yields rates as fast as 150 mbps, which is far faster than the typical connection speeds in China. In fact, it's much faster than the usual Internet connection in both east or west.

Li-fi was first demonstrated by University of Edinburgh professor Harald Haas in the United Kingdom, at an August 2011 TED Talk. Haas displayed a li-fi device transmitting at 10 Mbps, asserting that the technology could hypothetically exceed 1 Gbps. The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute confirmed this claim earlier this year.

The technology relies on a fast-pulsating beam of light embedded with signal processing technology. Receiving devices would read the light pulses and translate them on a streaming basis. On-board cameras in smartphones, tablets, computers and other gadgets could be modified to double as photo-receptors.

Li-Fi is highly affordable as well. If the user has a light bulb and a Li-Fi kit, you can connect to the internet. Researchers are showing off 10 sample kits at a trade show next month in China. The Asian giant is going in the direction that could make Li-Fi a practical and commercially viable asset, since as Xinhua reports, Chinese people are quickly replacing old fashioned incandescent bulbs with LEDs.

There are still a few technical details dealing with microchip design and manufacturing that would need to fall into place before Li-Fi becomes inescapable.

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