LEDs are a fantastic technology. They are more efficient and less polluting than compact fluorescent light bulbs and come with a host of other advantages. But one advantage that is certainly new to us is the possibility of using them to transmit data. Or at least, so says the Smart Lighting research team at Boston University.
Because LEDs can cycle on and off millions of times per second, they can, in effect, become wireless routers for information transport. So, as long as your device is in a well-lit area of the office, it will automatically have high-speed internet streaming into it.
The advantages are fairly obvious…no need for a separate router consuming extra energy. The LED bulbs would actually consume less energy (by cycling off a portion of the time) and the quality of the light would not change perceptibly.
Of course, the disadvantages are also pretty obvious…the biggest one being shadows. Unlike RF transmission, the light can’t transmit through walls..or even sheets of paper. So you would always have to make certain that you were in a well-lit area when working. This also means that the lights would always have to be on…fine for large buildings, but not necessary in offices with large windows.