University of Edinburgh opens Li-Fi R&D centre

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A new Li-Fi R&D centre has been opened at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to aid in the development of a new generation of high-speed internet technology known as Li-Fi. The centre was opened on the 28 November, and will encourage collaboration between experts from the University and other research institutes around the world.

Li-Fi technology is transmitted using light waves instead of the existing radio technology. It is seen as the successor to the latest 4G wireless internet systems which were introduced in the UK in 2012. The demand for wireless internet access, brought about by the revolution in smart phone technology, is in danger of overloading the amount of data that can currently be supplied by Wi-Fi. However, according to researchers, Li-Fi has no such limitations. Using light to deliver wireless internet will also allow connectivity in environments that do not currently support Wi-Fi, such as aircraft cabins and hospitals.

Researchers at the centre are keen to identify new industrial partners and to collaborate more widely with international electronics companies to further develop Li-Fi technology. Professor Haas, chair of mobile communications at the University of Edinburgh and co-founder of a spin-out company, pureLiFi, said: ‘This internationally leading UK centre will accelerate the adoption of Li-Fi, and emerging wireless technology, through engagement with major industrial partners, to fully harness the potential of Li-Fi and establish a major new US$6 billion Li-Fi industry.’

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, head of the University of Edinburgh’s college of Science and Engineering, added: ‘The University of Edinburgh has a strong track record in communications research and providing industry solutions to this sector. This R&D centre in Edinburgh is a unique opportunity for the UK to lead the global development of Li-Fi technology.’