London: Imagine that by simply turning on the light bulb in your room, you can also switch on your wireless Internet connection at home.

Well, it's a reality now, thanks to a leading British physicist of Edinburgh University who claims to have developed a technology which can send data through the same connection as a normal lamp.

Prof Harald Hass says the invention, dubbed D-Light, can send data faster than 10 megabits per second, which is the speed of a typical broadband connection, by altering the frequency of the ambient light in the room.

He says that other possibilities of the device – which he has dubbed "Li-fi", or Light Fidelity -- include sending wireless data from "white space" in your TV spectrum or unused satellite signals.

By replacing old fashioned incandescent models with LED bulbs he has claimed he could turn them all into Internet transmitters, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

It has new applications in hospitals, airplanes, military, and even underwater. Aeroplane passengers could in theory be able to surf the Internet from signals beamed out of the lights on board, according to the physicist.

"The way we transmit wireless data is inefficient electromagnetic waves, in particular radio waves which are limited, they are sparse, they are expensive and only have a certain range.

"It is this limitation which does not cope with wireless data, and we are running out of efficiency. Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum... wouldn't it be great to use it
for wireless communications?" Prof Hass said. He added the visible light spectrum had 10,000 more times the space than radio waves, making it the ideal range to use.

Professor Hass said the technology has not yet been integrated with smart phone but he hopes that soon it will be. "Everywhere that there is light, these are potential sources for data transmission," he said.

He added: "For me the applications of it are beyond imagination... all we need to do is to fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would combine illumination and data transmission, and this could solve the problems facing us in wireless communication."

(Agencies)