Panasonic unveils new LCD technology at the Consumer Electrics Show in Las Vegas.

15 Jan 2015

A exciting high–speed form of light technology was promoted by Panasonic at this month’s CES consumer electrics show. A real advancement on QR codes, from where currently a user has to hold their smartphone close to a code, to an ability to pick up information for five meters or more away.

The technology is based on ID signals sent by LEDs that form the backlight of LCD signage.  What happens is that LEDs flash on and off at a rate that is unnoticeable to the human eye, but recognisable by smartphone camera sensors.

Notably faster than standard VLC (visible light communication) speeds the data rate of transmission is several kilobits per second, achieved by it being divided into blocks.  An Hikari ID app on a smartphone can call up associated ads or websites from cloud servers.

A Panasonic spokesman also revealed other potential uses: “This system could also be used in trains or subways — for instance travelers could benefit by the app automatically translating station names or other information by detecting a smartphone’s language settings,”

Panasonic said it intends to commercialize the technology sometime before year end March 31, 2016 primarily targeting retailers.

We have seen similar recent developments from Fujitsu’s with its latest use of LED light reflected off objects that illuminates to call up linked information, again via smartphone camera sensors. The difference is that where Fujitsu has used color modulation to change the RGB mix in LED lights to encode ID data, Hikari ID uses on-off flickering system that has no necessity for LEDs equipped with color modulators. Fujitsu’s system’s data speed rate is also slower, at 10bps.

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