Feeds

WTF is... Li-Fi?

Optical data transfer's new leading light?

Reducing security risks from open source software

From Palm Pilots to high-speed data

Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, best known for developing the MP3 audio codec, runs a photonics lab in Dresden. Earlier this year, it said it had created a wireless optical link capable of delivering data at the rate of 3Gbps.

Fraunhofer's technology isn't true VLC - it uses infrared light. So it has the backing of the IrDA, the Infrared Data Association, the organisation founded in 1993 to oversee device-to-device infrared communications standards. You know, beaming business card details from one Palm Pilot to another, or early wireless printing kit, or even linking a computer to an old Nokia phone as a modem.

Fraunhofer boffin works on IR board

A Fraunhofer boffin tweaks the Institute's IR tech

Hardly anyone builds IrDA ports into devices these days - USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are faster and don't require line of sight. But the IrDA is looking to VLC to give it a new lease of life.

At the end of 2011, it pledged to work to define a new standard for 5Gbps and 10Gbps infrared communications, an effort building on the 1Gbps the existing Giga-IR standard supports. The Fraunhofer kit supports Giga-IR.

At these higher speeds, IrDA believes its updated standard could replace the likes of HDMI and USB 3.0.

D-Light delight

Meanwhile, Haas, together with Ediburgh University colleague Gordon Povey, continues to work with visible light. They and their team at the college's D-Light - "Data Light" - project have created kit capable of 130Mbps data transfer rights. A lot slower than Fraunhofer's rig, to be sure, but one delivered by off-the-shelf parts rather than custom lab components. Povey and Haas believe they can push that speed to at least 1Gbps. Other Li-Fi proponents claim 10Gbps will be possible with specially designed LED lightsources.

Both boffins also run PureVLC, a company founded to commercialise Li-Fi technology on behalf of the University, and this month PureVLC claimed to have sent the first text message send by LED to an unmodified Android handset.

PureVLC's 'Smart Lighting Development Kit' board

Coming soon: PureVLC's 'Smart Lighting Development Kit' board

To be fair, the data rate was a low 2.5Kbps and it requires a special app to control the handset's cameras and detect the message. But PureVLC's demo showed that messages can be sent with low-cost kit and that doing so doesn't register with the human eye.

PureVLC is also promising to release a "Smart Lighting Development Kit", a full duplex VLC system that connects to standard LED light fixtures, in Q2 2012.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.