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Transfer data using light

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Newbie level 4
Oct 17, 2020
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I have project to build a system to transfer video wirelessly using light instead of using radio signal

Could anyone help me

You need a little more info for project, like what interface on each end
of link (analog or digital) do you want after you leave optical interface
(your terminology light interface), speed you need (video bandwidth),
distance to transmit.... :

One possibility of many :

Start searching, once you know the interface at source and at target, for "SERDES" as a base
for examination.

Regards, Dana.


a video? ... using light?

Video side:
* Do you have any experience with transmitting a video signal serially?
* Are you able to calculate the bandwidth/data rate for this?
* Do you know resolution in pixels and in color and the required frame rate?
* Do you have experience with video compression?

and for the "light" side:
* A light bulb or a laser, or something else?
* single color, or color modulated? (Not the video, the data transfer)
* via air or fiber?
* what distance?

As you ask a rather unelaborated question, I guess you are not very experienced in this field. If so I recommend not to do this job unless your customer gives you endless time and money.


Is this a home work problem ? If so what level of school are you
currently in ? Describe a bit your electronic experience.

Regards, Dana.

Thank you for your appreciated effort.

I have measurments course project and our supervisor suggest us to search about two projects and if we can build them practically. a system like wifi router but instead of using radio signal we should use light signal.
Suggested distance between light source like led light and light reciever 1m to 2m . and without using fiber between two sides.

2. Build a system to transfer video wirelessly between two devices using light signal .
Suggested distance between light source like led light and light reciever 20 cm to 100cm ,and without using fiber between two sides.
And we need to build a circuts for two sides .not use ready made modules or boards.

I dont have a lot of hardware design experience therefore i need a help if we can build such systems practically as a hardware components with specifications needed are available . And which of the two suggested projects requires less time to complete and its design circuits easier.

We have two months to complete the project.
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I´m a quite experienced electronics developer .. but I won´t do the video over "LED light" task - not for a lot of mone within 2 months.
Indeed I call it almost impossible to stream video - with some decent quality - over LED light..

For someone with "not a lot of experience in hardware design" none of the above is a suitable and doable task.
So either your supervisor played a joke on you - or you misunderstood the requirement.

For the WiFi router task .. I see one big problem: A WiFi router needs to work in both data directions.
And again there is the question about data rate.

You may do some brainstorming about both tasks .. but to really build them .. I guess it´s no good idea. I expect no satisfying results.

I recommend to talk to your supervisor.


"Free space optical links" are a thing. Used from satellites
to living rooms, and point-point wireless networking.

If I were you I'd pick something that is less "infrastructure
needy", like substituting a free space optical link for a wired
Ethernet, sticking to the PHY-only aspects. You will be
swallowed up by the quicksand, if you mean to try and put
the optics in place of a low power RF, complex modulation,
multiple software layers RF link.

Your video resolution and color depth determines clock rate :

Are you tasked to do this with analog transmission or digital ?

Take a look at this, google "fso video optical link laser"

Regards, Dana.
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Hi ,

We talked to our supervisor and he decided to change the project idea .

Still need to send data using light but between two microcontrollers.

Read distance and transmit it using light to reciever side .

He suggest to use photo diode as reciever or any photo reciever suitable for our project we can find.

Do you advice us to use led light as transmitter in this project.

Thank you all for your appreciated effort.

IRDA as long as you are not in a lot of direct sunlight. Or an environment
where a lot of IR is generated or present. Could always use an emitter
and detector for IRDA at another spectrum to get around "IR" ambient

If you can fix the physical location of link a low cost consumer Laser diode,
and receiver, and drive Laser diode with a UART.

Regards Dana.

I built an LED transmission system for my Morse decoder. The sending led is a narrow-beam high-intensity orange led. Its clear lens shines a beam as big as a dinner plate across the room. Morse signals cause it to flash many times per second.

The receiver is a photodiode. (A phototransistor can also do the job.) A magnifying glass concentrates the beam. A voltage amplifier (made from a plain logic IC) delivers a usable high-low signal. This went to the game port of my Commodore 64.

The orange light is easy to see. The components are easy to work with.

It's an accomplishment if you can make a similar system work in hardware. Later you can step up to sending video.

Below is a simulation. Where it has the optocoupler, think of there being several feet distance between the led and phototransistor.

led transmits On-Off signal to simple receiver.png

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