WiFi May Become Passe. Enter LiFi, The Digital Alternative To WiFi

In case you have no idea what LiFi is and how it works, we have an interview with Professor Harald Haas, who has developed this new technology which you may soon hear more frequently about.

Professor, first of all would you explain to our readers what Li Fi is? 

Light Fidelity (LiFi) is a bidiretional, fully networked, high-speed communicaton solution using light. Information is encoded into light intensity variations and received by photo detectors such as positive-intrinstic-negative diodes, avalanche photodiodes, and photovoltaic elements. 

So the technology works through ordinary light bulbs? 

The technology can work not from any light bulb – but from any LED light bulb. It has to be a semiconductor-based light bulb. Energy efficient, off-the-shelf light-emitting diodes are a very good candidate for combined illumination and communication. 

In addition to the existing applications that use WiFi, what would be the added applications while using LiFi? 

LiFi is a good candidate for some other applications, including optical atto-cells (personal area size of cells), indoor positioning, Internet of Things (IoT) and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) 

Professor Hass

Are there any significant added costs when adopting LiFi in place of WiFi? 

In general, there shouldn’t be a significant cost when the technology is in the stage of user-based deployment. As a matter of fact, it should be possible to make LiFi cheaper than WiFi. 

You have already acquired a celebrity status. Could you tell us about you as a person, a family man, and a friend? 

I am delighted to have the best wife in the world and four very hilarious children! My children, especially, are my biggest support system. When it comes to LiFi, all the school children and their teachers know about LiFi – so if I have acquired any “celebrity“ status, that’s why! 

It is said you were already an inventor when you were as young as 13, please tell us more about this? 

When I was 13 years old, I was given an electornics set as a Christmas gift. I was completely fascinated by it, and I spent all my time playing with it and doing my own experiments. I remember burning my fingers a lot, but I still loved it!  

Who were your mentors and the ones who inspired you during your growing up years? 

I’ve always been very inspired by philosophers, specifically Henry David Thoreau. He was an American philosopher who always wanted to do exactly the opposite of what was accepted in the mainstream, which always inspired me. 

What motivated your move from the commercial and industrial sector to academics? 

The move from the commercial and industrial sector was an easy one for me. I was drawn to Academia because in Academia, there is the possibility to explore out-of-the-box ideas in a completely unconstrained way. Academia has always appealed to me because you can work on ideas that may not necessarly have any commerical value – but are driven by pure curiosity. 

Our readership comprises mainly young adults from different parts of the world who look up to achievers such as yourself. A word of advice for them? 

My advice to your readers is that it is so important to follow  your dream. You must never think that there are any limits that your environment may impose on you. You must always think of the sky as your limit – and do what you really want to do in life. 

Professor Haas chairs the Department of Mobile Communications at Edinburgh University’s Institute for Digital Communications and has several studies and research projects to his credit.

Photos: From the archive of Professor Hass

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