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Case Study
PureLiFi Ltd is a spinout from the School of Engineering that has pioneered Li-Fi technology, in which standard LED lighting carries wireless communications data, as an alternative to Wi-Fi. The development of super high-speed transmission using off-the-shelf LED light bulbs initially came from research led by Harald Haas, Professor of Mobile Communications in the University’s Institute of Digital Communications.

The Project

Professor Haas received funding support from the Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept programme (Now High Growth Spinout Programme) to build and further develop a prototype for commercialisation through the formation of a new University spinout company. Since Professor Haas delivered a TEDTalk In 2011 where he coined the phrase ‘LiFi’, interest in the technology has accelerated. Professor Haas co-founded the company pureVLC (now pureLiFi), with Research Assistant Dr Mostafa Afgani.

This ground-breaking technology allows LED light to modulate at a rate so fast as to be imperceptible to the human eye, with the modulation transmitting data that can be picked up by receivers, such as suitably configured smart-phone cameras, at speeds of hundreds of megabits per second.

Data carried by light

Configuring a light source, such as a simple household LED bulb, with pureLiFi’s technology creates a localised data communications centre capable of carrying data, not just in a single data stream, but thousands of data streams in parallel at high speed. It can be used in intrinsically safe environments – petrochemical plants, hospitals, aircraft and elsewhere – where the use of radio frequency Wi-Fi can have restrictions.

The spinout company is now managed by three University of Edinburgh alumni: Dr Harald Burchardt, Dr Nikola Serafimovski and Dr Mostafa Afgani.

To date the company has produced three iterations of the LiFi product. The current iteration LiFi-X offers the fastest, smallest and most secure LiFi system on the market.

Professor Haas remains Chief Scientific Officer of pureLiFi. He has also continued his world-leading research at the University’s LiFi centre, which is dedicated to accelerating the development of Li-Fi as a major global industry, through creating a pipeline for innovative ideas, technologies, products and partnerships.

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