These Smart Windows Can Turn Sunlight Into Wi-Fi


A team at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is working on building windows that can generate Wi-Fi using sunlight.

Some devices can send data via fluctuating light patterns but employ artificial light. This mechanism will modulate sunlight as it passes through the specific window glass. They accomplish this by using dual-cell liquid crystal shutters in the smart glass, which instantly change the sunlight’s polarity.

Furthermore, the team believes that this system may be powered solely by a tiny solar panel, as the shutters need only 1 watt of electricity, as opposed to the 5 to 20 watts consumed by standard Wi-Fi routers.

They estimate that their system can currently send 16 kilobits per second, but they believe there is plenty of room for development.

“We are now ordering the necessary hardware for a testbed prototype implementation,” said associate professor Basem Shihada, the project’s lead scientist. “We would like to increase the data rates from kilobits to mega- and gigabits per second.”

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal IEEE Photonics.


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