Last year I noted an article describing research into "Li-Fi"--essentially, a wireless network using lights to transmit data rather than radio signals. Now it appears that Chinese researchers have taken this idea and advanced it a little further toward reality. DVice reports:
Scientists from the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics have discovered that a microchip embedded one-watt LED bulb is capable of emitting Wi-Fi, with enough signal strength to provide internet for four computers.
The discovery, aptly named "Li-Fi," relies on the use of special LED light bulb that operate with light as the carrier instead of traditional radio frequencies. Data rates as fast as 150 megabits per second were achieved with the new Li-Fi connection, making it faster, cheaper and more energy efficient than traditional Wi-Fi signals. Li-Fi apparently only uses five percent of the energy required to power Wi-Fi-emitting devices, which rely on energy cooling systems to supply Internet to cell towers and Wi-Fi stations.
Though the discovery has huge potential in the way we use Internet connection, Li-Fi is still in a crude testing stage ...Well, I don't know if "discover" is the correct word, since it builds off earlier research and development by other companies, including Casio. The articles I've seen on this are somewhat misleading because they show standard incandescent bulbs, yet it is very clear that this will only work with LED lights because of the need for rapid pulsing.
More information at Quartz.