Wi-Fi seems to be one of the most common electronic technologies out there as almost everywhere you go, you can find a network. These networks rely on radio waves or microwaves to communicate, but wireless communication does not need to be limited to that area of the spectrum. Researchers around the world are working on Li-Fi which operates on visible light and some institutions have recently received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop a new form of this technology.
Typically Li-FI uses LEDs that are approximately a square millimeter in size, but the EPSRC funded institutions intend to develop LEDs 1000 times smaller. This smaller scale will allow the LEDs to be more densely packed and flicker much faster than the larger LEDs. That faster flickering will allow them to transmit data more quickly. Even for traditional LEDs, this flickering is faster than the eye can perceive, which is why the researchers are also looking to integrate a Li-Fi system into displays or lights.
Eventually the researchers also hope to add sensing capabilities, so their Li-Fi networks may receive as well as transmit, but even as just transmitters, they may find use. For example, road signs could transmit traffic information to Li-Fi enabled devices while also lighting the roadway.