New visible-light communications system does away with radio signals

Japan-based Tamura has developed a communications system that’s based on light and doesn’t require radio signals that are transmitted by mobile phones and similar devices.

The core of the so-called optical intercom technology is an LED ceiling light that transmits light signals to portable headsets that use infrared light to transmit signals back to the receiver in order to avoid interferences. Tamura says the LED ceiling device can be hooked up to incoming phone lines to allow users to talk over phones. One of the devices covers a radius of about 4 meters.

The company hopes to sell its technology to hospitals and airplane makers, for example, since radio signals cannot be used in these places. Tamura claims that in addition, light signals are more secure than radio signals since a curtain is enough to fence out eavesdroppers.

A set of  four intercoms and a main transceiver will cost $20,000 when the system goes on sale in Japan next year in April.

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]