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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

High-Speed Data Link Made from Laser Pointers Works Where Wi-Fi Won't

•, By Clay Dillow

Wi-Fi isn’t always practical--in places like hospitals or labs, for instance, where radio transmitters are prohibited--and physical USB cables can be slow and cumbersome as well. So engineers at National Taipei University of Technology have built a low-cost, easy to implement optical setup that can beam data across rooms twice as fast as USB 2.0 technology using conventional laser pointers.

The simple setup costs only about $600 to build and employs the green and red laser pointers typical to the conference room presentation. By replacing the batteries in the lasers with a power sources that can switch them on and off rapidly--500 million times per second rapidly--a two-laser rig can beam a billion bits per second across roughly 30 feet (that was the distance in a recent demo, anyhow) wiht an error rate of less than one bit per billion, New Scientist reports.

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