Linux Light Bulbs Allow Devices To Talk To Each Other With Flashes Of Brilliance

Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? M-I-C- See? See the visible light carrying data quickly and easily from light bulbs to gadgets! -K-E-Y Why? Because light is ubiquitous! M-O-U-S-E!

Disney researchers are working on a new protocol – tentatively called the Linux Light Bulb – that flashes out data using visible light. The bulbs are designed to work with gadgets and toys that may not need a full Wi-Fi or wireless component and instead will read data from he environment. The technology is called Visible Light Communication.

“With Visible Light Communication (VLC), LED light bulbs installed in a room can communicate with each other and other VLC devices (e.g., toys, wearables, clothing). The vision of the Internet of Things requires that light bulbs and VLC devices communicate via the Internet Protocol (IP),” write the researchers. You can read the paper here.

The creator of the technology, researcher Stefan Mangold, said that VLC could work with a simple system-on-a-chip and a lamp.

“Communication with light enables a true Internet of Things as consumer devices that are equipped with LEDs but not radio links could be transformed into interactive communication nodes,” Mangold said. “We’re not just talking about sensors, smartphones and appliances. This easily could include toys that have LEDs, creating an Internet of Toys in which toys can be accessed, monitored and acted on remotely.”

Because LED bulbs can be programmed the flash out binary codes the system could be implemented in older lighting systems and simply use a mesh network of visible light connections around, say, a house or collection of objects. Now the terrible kids toys your young ones want will have a reason for blinking and, with the advent of sound-based checksum systems, caterwauling like banshees.