Ceiling lights relay Internet data

Either an innovative way to cut down on Internet congestion or the prescription for a Pokemon-style seizure a la 1990, researchers are looking towards flickering lights to act as a possible new avenue for short-range Internet communications.

Presented as an alternative to slow and congested WiFi networks, the new technology, introduced by the startup LVX Systems in an around snowy Minnesota, uses a cluster of small LED lights to transmit coded communications to special receiving modems.

“Light can be the way out of this mess,” said Mohsen Kavehrad, a Penn State electrical engineering professor who works in optical network technology.

Although LVX is presenting the system as an alternative to WiFi, it seems as if the folks in St. Cloud, Minnesota have a different idea.

To be sure, St. Cloud adopted the $10,000 framework primarily because of its potential energy saving LED applications.

Indeed, technology analyst Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group explains that LVX’s system can be employed for other uses like indoor advertising displays and energy management. 

Other applications include personal locators or tiny video cameras to help guide people through large buildings – even smart lights that dim when the sun is shining through the window brightly.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which pays for 24-hour lighting and replacing fluorescent bulbs on high ceilings, is considering an LVX system, said Jeffrey W. Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

“Anything we can do to save costs is worth consideration,” he said. 

Meanwhile, St. Cloud city administrator Michael Williams noted that the city had been thinking of employing LVX for some time.

“It’s pretty wild stuff. They have been talking about it with us for couple of years, and frankly it took a while for it to sink in.”

LED future technology will certainly save costs when compared to fluorescent bulbs, but it seems like most technologists agree that flickering lights are simply not a realistic replacement for WiFi.

(Via Associated Press)