Every now and then, a revolutionary technological advance comes along and changes the way we live. Li-Fi might just be the next one. Thanks to Prof Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, who has demonstrated that by modulating light in an LED bulb, data can be transmitted at a speed 100 times faster than Wi-Fi.
The technology, which could be commercially available in three to four years, will enable us to outfit our offices, malls or bus stations – just about anywhere that has lights – with LED bulbs that send and receive data and provide illumination at the same time. Li-Fi would also be more secure as light can’t penetrate walls, meaning your neighbours won’t be able to steal your bandwidth or eavesdrop on your communications.
The development comes as we mark another milestone in science – the centenary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity that showed how light was at the centre of the structure of space and time. It’s a reminder of the distance we have travelled in 100 years.