With the rise in wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers that rely on smart sensors, and the continued popularity of smartphones, smartdevices are taking our country by storm. Wireless data for such devices is typically beamed through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, yet, the new wireless communication technology of “visible light communication (VLC),” has emerged as a new option albeit with limitations due to the challenges it faces in practice, such as being easily blocked or not being able to sustain transmission when light is off. Through a new Dartmouth project called “DarkLight,” researchers have developed and demonstrated for the first-time, how visible light can be used to transmit data even when the light appears dark or off. DarkLight provides a new communication primitive similar to infrared communication, however, it exploits the LED lights already around us rather than needing additional infrared emitters.
The study, “The DarkLight Rises: Visible Light Communication in the Dark,” was presented and demonstrated at “MobiCom 2016: The 22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking” by Zhao Tian, the lead Ph.D. student for the project.