Scientists in Switzerland are already paving the way for electricity-generating windows that might help power our homes and electronics. However, Saudi researchers have developed a system capable of delivering a wireless Internet signal powered by the sun via specialized glass.
“I hope that, in the future, smart modern office buildings with gigantic glass windows will work with the Internet based on this technology,” Professor Osama Amin, the lead researcher on the project at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, told Euronews Next.
The team of experts says that if they succeed in obtaining a high data rate, they will be able to do “everything.” With a broadband bandwidth of around 15–16 kbps, their method utilizing Windows for Internet data transfer is still in its infancy.
The Saudi innovation uses the polarisation of sunlight to transmit data by using smart glass parts known as dual-cell liquid crystal shutters (DLS). One of the features of electromagnetic waves, such as light, is electromagnetic polarization. Polarized sunglasses, for example, filter light using electromagnetic polarization. They block reflected light and allow only useful light to get through, decreasing eyestrain and glare and allowing for safe and pleasant vision.
Wireless communication technologies are typically based on either radio frequency communication or optical communication, which necessitates the use of energy-efficient active light sources such as lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The Saudi system works similarly to any other visible light communication (VLC) system, modulating the light of LEDs to carry information.
The devices that could potentially benefit from the sun-powered data transfer technology need to be specially designed to detect the polarized information. However, smartphone camera developers are already working to make devices able to decipher data sent this way.