Passive Communication with Ambient Light

Qing Wang, Marco Zuñiga Zamalloa, Domenico Giustiniano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we propose a new communication system for illuminated areas, indoors and outdoors. Light sources in our environments --such as light bulbs or even the sun-- are our signal emitters, but we do not modulate data at the light source. We instead propose that the environment itself modulates the {ambient} light signals: if mobile elements `wear' patterns consisting of distinctive reflecting surfaces, single photodiode could decode the disturbed light signals to read passive information. Achieving this vision requires a deep understanding of a new type of communication channel. Many parameters can affect the performance of passive communication based on visible light: the size of reflective surfaces, the surrounding light intensity, the speed of mobile objects, the field-of-view of the receiver, to name a few. In this paper, we present our vision for a passive communication channel with visible light, the design challenges and the evaluation of an outdoor application where our receiver decodes information from a car moving at 18 km/h.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoNEXT'16 Proceedings of the 12th International on Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies
EditorsA. Markopoupou, M. Faloutsos
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4292-6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2016
EventCoNEXT'16: The 12th International on Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies - Irvine, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 201615 Dec 2016


CountryUnited States


  • Computer-Communication Networks
  • Network architecture and Design
  • Wireless communication

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