Outstanding Technology has developed two commercial products using visible light communication technology, using LED lights to transmit data. These are a location service for smartphones, called the Commulight System, and a visible light transceiver, the TR01.
The Commulight System consists of a receiver that plugs into a smartphone or tablet, and LED lights with a built-in transmitter. The receiving device obtains IDs emitted by the LED lights, enabling it to download content relevant to the user’s location. The receiver is available in two types, one that connects via USB, and one that connects via the headphone jack.
“The most obvious application for this system is guiding visitors in galleries and museums. For example, when the user stands in front of an exhibit, the smartphone can show a guide to that exhibit. The system can also be used for stores in a building, point campaigns, and coupons for events.”
“Positioning services using indoor GPS and wireless communication already exist. But with those services, the ability to specify a location is only approximate. Commulight enables very high-precision positioning services, within, say, a 50-cm circle.”
Using light from LEDs instead of radio signals also makes it possible to communicate in tunnels and factories, where radio reception can be difficult.
The visible light transceiver includes an LED light source for transmission, and a high-sensitivity optical receiver, making two-way audio communication possible.
“Ordinary transceivers can’t be used in some environments. Radio reception is limited by space constraints, so it’s not possible in narrow tunnels, for example. But using light enables communication as long as the light can be seen. Conversely, with radio signals, sometimes you can’t communicate even if you can see each other. Also, if we make the equipment waterproof, which we haven’t done yet, this system can also be used underwater.”
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