updated 07:21 pm EST, Sun January 12, 2014
Smartphone-mounted light sensor can receive data from lamps
A method for sending data using light was shown at CES by a company called Oledcomm, a system it called LiFi. Demonstrated on the show floor using an Android smartphone with its front camera replaced with a light sensor, the system allows for devices to communicate using pulses of light, with the rapidity of flashes making the light source look as if it is a static light.
The system allows for communications speeds of up to 10Mbps, reports Engadget, demonstrated through a sensor-equipped notebook being shined on by a lamp. A more practical demonstration showed a variety of lamps triggering the showing of videos and images preloaded onto devices when the sensor-equipped smartphone was held nearby, though it also used an accessory that can plug into the headphone socket for adding the technology to existing devices. Though it showed the possibility of pushing data to mobile devices using light, the company suggests it could be used in the future for in-store advertising and indoor geolocation.
Oledcomm may have a tough time getting LiFi to market, as it has to convince manufacturers to add it alongside already-existing and similar communication methods, such as Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and in older devices, infrared.