Li-Fi Scrubs Into the Operating Room

Li-Fi, which is short for “light fidelity,” is a wireless technology that uses optical light to transmit information (as opposed to Wi-Fi, which also transmits light, but at much lower radio frequencies.) Proponents claim that Li-Fi could deliver more reliable data transmission at faster rates than Wi-Fi.

Since Harald Haas, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, popularized the term Li-Fi in 2011, companies including the former Philips Lighting—now Signify—and Haas’s own pureLiFi have tried to commercialize the technology. It’s been tested in offices, schools, and even airplanes, but has so far struggled to gain widespread adoption. 

Now, Li-Fi has completed its first tests in a hospital—a place where its reliability and speed may prove particularly valuable. A team of researchers from the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin and the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague published results from a demonstration, which they announced at the recent Optical Networking and Communication Conference in San Diego. Their new study lays the groundwork for possibly someday using Li-Fi in a medical setting.

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