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Researchers Test First 'Smart Spaces' Using Light to Send Data

By Dartmouth College

November 17, 2014

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A key problem in the area of visible light communication (VLC) is that data transmission is blocked if light is obstructed by people's movements, shadows, and other factors. To tackle the problem, Dartmouth College professor Xia Zhou and colleagues are experimenting with "smart spaces" featuring algorithms, ceiling-mounted light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and light sensors in floors and in smart devices.

Such smart spaces monitor users' gestures and can separate shadows from light.

The researchers' integrated visible light communication project (iVLC) system embeds identifiers into light signals from LEDs, enabling light sensors on the floor to measure individual light sources. Shadows are used to identify user gestures and to track movements to create an uninterrupted flow of data in indoor places.

Preliminary results from simulation tests are promising, and the researchers currently are working on a proof-of-concept iVLC testbed using LEDs and light sensors. VLC technologies work by changing the intensity and frequency of LEDs to manipulate optical signals and rapidly send large amounts of data economically and safely.

Recent VLC research has focused on using clusters of LEDs in ceilings and receivers in computers.

From Dartmouth College
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