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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: October 29, 2013
Chinese Scientists Develop 'Li-Fi' Technology

Wi-fi connectivity from a light bulb, or so-called "li-fi", is getting a step closer to reality in a communication lab in Shanghai.

What would a city be without its lights? Combining function and beauty, they let us see what's around us. And in the works is a bright idea for information technology.

A team of Chinese scientists claimed that by implanting a microchip, they can turn a LED light bulb into an Internet transmitter, getting a step closer from Wi-fi to Li-fi.

In a lab in Shanghai's Fudan University, scientists show how they connect four computers to the Internet under a one-watt LED lightbulb.

"We use this notebook as the Internet, using the cable to connect it with the generator, which you can imagine as the light bulb. It is like a router, transmitting the network signal into light signal, which you can receive as long as you are under the light. The receiver is like a wireless card, which turns the light signal into a network signal to connect our computers," said professor Chi Nan from Shanghai's Fudan University

The bulb can produce data speeds of up to 150 megabits a second. Chi explains the principle of this technology.

"The principle is that light can be used as a carrier instead of traditional radio frequencies. It's like the lighthouse on the coast sending out signals by flashing," Chi said.

She said that compared with costly, inefficient base stations, the number of light bulbs that can be used is practically limitless. But it's still in the experimental stage.

"We need to make these pieces smaller and more stable before designing, manufacturing and marketing the microchip," Chi said.

China is fast replacing the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs with LED lightbulbs. Although there is still a long way to go to make li-fi a commercial success, this technology is shining the light on new uses of energy.

(CNTV.cn October 28, 2013)


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