Chinese researchers are looking to use flickering LEDs to replace traditional short-distance wireless networking standards, and that could be integrated into office or home lighting. By rapidly pulsing the LEDs, the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute for the Study of Semiconductor have come up with the Lighting Information Network, consisting of blue LEDs capable of 2Mbps transfer speeds.
To demonstrate the system, researchers showed a laptop - with no wired or WiFi network connection - playing smooth streaming internet video that was transmitted via the lighting network. The team reckons concerns over the impact of electromagnetic waves on the human body will leave users open to alternative carriers, such as lighting.
As for the lights themselves, the pulses are so rapid that the human eye sees the LEDs as consistently lit. In addition to regular internet connections, the system could be used for "smart" appliances, such as updating clock accuracy automatically, advising home automation systems as to switch statuses, and sending out updates from devices like printers and fax machines when they need more ink.
[Image from previous LED networking research from Boston University]