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Your next router could be a lamp when Li-Fi replaces Wi-Fi

Your next router could be a lamp when Li-Fi replaces Wi-Fi
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Wi-Fi is a game changer. Forget wires! Now you can connect to the Internet anywhere in your home or in the coffee shop or at the office. But soon, we could be getting wireless networking much, much faster with better security, too.

A company called pureLiFi wants to use LED semiconductors to transmit information. The co-founder, an engineer named Harald Haas, explained the process to Public Radio International. "[LEDs] have the property that we can change the light that comes out of an LED very, very quickly. That change in the brightness is what we exploit in order to encode data extremely fast, so that the receiver will be a decoder, a photo detector, which will then see these changes in the light intensity in a way a human eye would not be able to detect."

The idea sounds wild, but LEDs transmit data more than twice as fast as Wi-Fi. And Li-Fi would be more secure, since light can't pass through walls the way Wi-Fi's radio waves do.

Haas and his company have big plans for Li-Fi - they already have a Li-Fi receiver that will plug into a USB port. "We are now on a very, very radical path towards miniaturization," he told PRI. Do you think Li-Fi is the future? Let us know in the comments below. And check back often to our Happening Now page for all the latest news on new technology.

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