When it comes to efficiency and quality, light emitting diodes (LED) are the MVP of today’s lighting technology. A team of Chinese researchers is using recent LED improvements as a springboard to launch a more interconnected lighting network. In their study published September 30, 2022 in An intelligent, converged networkAnd They proposed the concept of the Internet of Light that interacts with the Internet of Things to improve human health and well-being by providing information services.
“As people spend more and more time indoors, it is absolutely necessary to provide a lighting network that provides intelligent lighting along with information services by combining information technologies and communication technologies,” said Jian Song, a professor of electronic engineering at Tsinghua University.
Since LED is silicon based, it can facilitate deep integration of lighting networks with various electronic and intelligent control mechanisms at low cost. On top of lighting control, researchers from the fields of information and communication technology have demonstrated the feasibility of something called visible light communication (VLC), which transmits information by modulating the intensity of LED light. This type of connection can simultaneously support information services such as localization, data transmission, and even visual therapy without causing eye strain or damage.
“The rapid progress in ICT-related fields and humanities motivated us to propose the idea of the Internet of Light (IoL) as a platform and develop its main functions,” said Song.
To integrate IoL with ubiquitous lighting networks, the researchers integrated sensors, communication modules, and intelligent processing modules into individual LEDs to form a “node,” and adopted communication technologies, such as power line communications (PLC) and 5G wireless communications as the networking medium.
The network of IoL sensors made up of specially designed sensor nodes can collect information such as light intensity, color, level of hazardous gases, moving objects, and more.
Applications of this type of IoT include “smart” nursing homes where the resident can be present for reasons of safety and security or a kitchen gas leak can be detected in time. Automatic adjustments in light intensity or color can customize a relaxing environment according to user preferences or as a way to perform visual therapy.
To accommodate these functions effectively and efficiently, the researchers developed algorithms and ran hardware experiments to demonstrate the performance of the system for high-speed data delivery. This included experimenting with a real-time beam alignment VLC design that can quickly adjust the direction of the emitted light source according to the user’s position.
The researchers investigated resource optimization under various constraints such as connectivity and location services to allocate different frequencies and power, as well as connectivity and lighting to meet a variety of lighting requirements including intensity and uniformity.
“Because the connection and positioning services will be implemented by lighting networks, optimizing power distribution is critical,” said Hui Yang, a professor of electronic engineering at Tsinghua University.
To support applications such as video transmission and real-time positioning, researchers are exploring scheduling algorithms that can accommodate the stringent timing requirements of a base station and reduce latency.
Previous studies have shown that light can be used in the treatment of certain skin conditions or neurodegenerative diseases, which indicates the potential for non-invasive optical therapy. The team explored this possibility by designing an experiment for light stromal radiation at the flickering frequency of LED light.
“The preliminary results of our investigation confirmed the relationship between light stimulation and human reaction with electrical skin activity signal and other methods,” said Xiaofei Wang, professor of electronic engineering at Tsinghua University. “This shows that the Internet of Things platform can regulate human emotions and brain activity by intelligently and automatically controlling the flicker frequency of a light source.”
In future steps, the researchers plan to integrate individual technologies into an environment such as a nursing facility, which can benefit from intelligent sensing, communications, and optimization under resource constraints, according to the study.
The combination of lighting and environment creates a highly interactive, complex, and dynamic system with great contrast and great diversity of individuals,” said Luoxi Hao, a professor at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University. “The advantages of real-time perception, instantaneous response, and seamless interconnection of information supported by IoL can enable It definitely plays an important role in turning the concept of human-centered lighting into reality.”
This work was supported by the National Research and Development Program of China and the Fok YingTung Education Foundation.
Other contributors include Jintao Wang, Fang Yang, Hongming Zhang, and Zhao Zhang in the Department of Electronic Engineering at Tsinghua University. Changyong Pan and Yongqiang Lyu with the Beijing National Information Science and Technology Research Center at Tsinghua University. and Luxi Hao is at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University.
The paper is also available on SciOpen (https://www.sciopen.com/article/10.23919/ICN.2022.0018) via Tsinghua University Press.
About Smart and converged networks
Smart and converged networks It is a specialized international magazine focusing on the latest developments in communications technology. The journal is jointly published by Tsinghua University Press and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT). Intelligent and converged networks derive their name from the accelerating convergence of various fields of communication technology and the growing influence of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
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