So you invent a wireless network using LEDs, what do you do next? Add solar panels. Boom

Edi uni prof to reveal new research this weekend

Apple's solar array in Maiden, North Carolina

Ingenious Scottish boffins have invented a solar-panel-powered version of their data networking kit that uses light to shift bits wirelessly.

The team, based at the University of Edinburgh, first called its technology D-Light, short for data light, and its existence was revealed exclusively by your humble correspondent during a previous life at the Sunday Herald.

The tech, dubbed Li-Fi, modulates the output of LEDs to send information through the air to a photo-detector. The next logical step for the academics is powering the kit with solar panels.

Professor Harald Haas, who came up with the Li-Fi idea, said this week: "Solar-powered Li-Fi could make internet access available in far-flung places, and opens up all sorts of possibilities for widespread wireless communications."

Prototypes of the solar transmission system can send data at about 7Mbps. But that's not the limit of the tech: a few days ago the Li-Fi team announced it can transfer data at 1.1Gbps using light from micro LEDs over a distance of 10 metres, all while using less than 0.5W power – which is low enough for a solar panel to drive.

Professor Haas will explain the latest developments in his research when he gives the Tam Dalyell prize lecture at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in Scotland. His talk will take place at 6pm on Sunday, 13 April at the Playfair Library in the University's Old College. ®

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