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EETE APR 2014

Yes, Sony has just rolled out its Project Morpheus to pair with its PlayStation 4 gaming console, and Avegant’s Glyph has been similarly very successful with its kickstarter campaign (for an audio headset concept embedding two adjustable HD digital light projectors into a flip-down head-band). So virtual reality is getting a lot of attention lately, and today’s low-power display and processing capabilities are certainly helping this new wave of products become affordable for mass deployment. But virtual reality is not augmented reality like what Google glasses claims to offer. In a virtual world, you disconnect completely from reality, even if the digital world recreates a tangible environment. So I would not see this as a step ahead of augmented reality, but rather as hardwarebased Fig. 2: Oculus’ next development kit, DK2. digital confinement, not really something that leaves you open to the real world. Is this going to remain a niche gamers’ market or could virtual reality (together with some augmented reality added to it) truly become the ubiquitous computing platform of the future, as Zuckerberg hopes? It may be that Oculus’ current implementation is only the first stage of what further integration could transform into sunglasses sized VR displays with a see-through option. Think of tomorrow’s 2.5 billion smartphone users boasting a hands-free virtual reality/augmented reality combo dark glasses instead, digitally captive at home, yet feeling like living richer lives through highly addictive virtual worlds. No need to experiment with the real life, the digital opium allows you to transform your living room into a palace, your bathtub into a deep blue lagoon if that’s your wish. Peer pressure will still be felt though, and adverts will be there enticing you to step up your game (your avatar’s appearance, your virtual belongings, access to new virtual places and people). What’s next on the roadmap? Turning all social media users into electronic stimuli junkies? Want to make this world more tangible? Take MIT’s inFORM dynamic shape display and build it up to a room size, you can now walk over endlessly reconfigurable staircases, touch “real instant walls” through infinite labyrinths, all locked into one small room. But simpler, you can just disconnect from the hardware to live a real life, with real 3D grounds to climb upon, real challenges, real people to talk to. CEA-Leti reveals high data rate Li-Fi prototype By Paul Buckley A prototype for wireles high data rate Li-Fi transmission is to be demonstrated by CEA-Leti at the upcoming Light + Building 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany. The device achieves throughputs of up to 10Mb/s at a range of three meters. The technology employs the high-frequency modulation capabilities of light-emitting diode (LED) engines used in commercial lighting. The device achieves 10Mb/s transmission rate at a range of three meters using light power of less than 1,000 lumens and with direct or even indirect lighting. With this first proof of concept and its expertise in RF communications, Leti is forecasting data transmission rates in excess of 100Mb/s with traditional lighting based on LED lamps using this technology approach and without altering the highperformance lighting characteristics. The optical system consists of an A19 lamp based on LEDs at the transmitter and an avalanche photodiode at the receiver. The digital communication component is implemented on a proprietary and reconfigurable platform that carries out a flexible multi-carrier modulation. As part of its Ecodesign process, the European Union has established a schedule for LED lighting penetration (regulation No. 1194/2012) which will help drive Li-Fi technology developments. Halogen lamps will be phased out and replaced by LED lighting by Sept. 1, 2016, in 30 European countries. Moreover, because LEDs can be modulated at high frequencies and their oscillations are invisible to humans, they permit information transmission at high data rates. Other technical and market factors also are increasing interest in data transmission through lighting. These include crowding of the conventional radiofrequency (RF) spectrum, the mobile data-traffic explosion in cellular networks, and the need for wireless data transmission without electromagnetic field (EMF) interference. The demonstration is part of a Leti project begun in 2013 to achieve a high data rate Li-Fi prototype by applying Leti’s expertise in digital communications, hardware prototyping and solid-state lighting. Leti, which is demonstrating the Li-Fi capability to show a promising alternative to conventional RF wireless communications, is also focusing on component optimization to offer a bidirectional link. 10 Electronic Engineering Times Europe April 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE APR 2014
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