In addition, solar energy can be used to power such a device, as well as detect and carry data.
The two technologies combined could enable self-sufficient wireless communications in remote areas, in developing regions with no web infrastructure, or in emergency situations.
Prototypes of the system have reached transmission speed of about 7 Mbps, which is equivalent to maximum speeds in conventional wireless networks.
The research builds on the Edinburgh team's pioneering Li-Fi technology, which enables data to be transmitted over the Internet using LED light bulbs.
Telecommunications pioneer Professor Harald Haas explains the latest developments in his research at the Tam Dalyell prize lecture at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
This University of Edinburgh annual prize recognises an individual or group for their public engagement work such as hosting school visits, talks and other public events or through publishing and broadcasting.