Thomas Edison Admires Li-Fi Lightbulb

I can see ol’ Tom Edison smiling at this next generation lightbulb, a kind of coy smile that might say he’s not that surprised. After all, his original light bulb technology gave birth to vacuum tubes and made radio and TV possible, so why not use that technology for other things.

Today we use Wi-Fi to access [radio waves] and download all sorts of information; but the amount of electromagnetic spectrum devoted to this is quite narrow … sort of like driving down a crowded one-lane road, when what we need is an eight -lane super highway. Light waves are another thing altogether, holding the promise of that super highway. Light waves can easily carry 10,000 times more volume than the currently allocated radio wave spectrum.

When properly equipped, an LED lightbulb can move information and lots of it via light. The key is imbedding a signal processor into the LEDs. Very short LED flashes of light do the data transmission. You don’t even see the flash and it does not affect the bulb’s light quality.

Thomas Edison Admires Li-Fi Lightbulb

In development since the early 2000’s, Li-Fi technology puts the upper speed for data transmission at 100 gigabits per second, about 15 times faster than the fastest Wi-Fi; and the Li-Fi is more secure too as the download does not pass through walls where it could be intercepted.

With Li-Fi, every LED light bulb can become an ultrafast wireless router or hotspot in the home or office. All your smart appliances can also be data-nourished from your LEDs as well. It’s another dimension of what we call the Internet of Things. Check out the videos embedded in the Editor’s Deep Dive section below-way cool to see and imagine the potential of this technology.

Thomas Edison Admires Li-Fi Lightbulb

Harald Haas, who teaches at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, coined the term “Li-Fi” at his TED Global Talk where he introduced the idea of “Wireless data from every light”. He is Chairman of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh and co-founder of pureLiFi. In October 2011, companies and industry groups formed the Li-Fi Consortium to promote and foster the advancement and implementation of this exciting technology. Russian, Chinese and Mexican interests are now active in this technology as well. Standards-making activities are also kicking in. The stage is set for some very interesting applications and large scale demos.

So what do you think, Tom!

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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Thomas Edison–Baseball Fan

The Thomas A. Edison film company captured what is the first known baseball game footage on May, 20 1898.Yes he was, a baseball fan. No big surprise here that he would love this beloved American sport. Here he is below throwing out a baseball, kicking off a long-ago match between teams … boys on a summer day.

At his legendary West Orange Labs, with his many employees, probably 10,000 or more, it was only natural for many healthy young men to engage in sports, what would later become known as industrial leagues. Tom supported his different sports teams. Here in the photo below, he is surrounded by one of those baseball teams, circa 1920s.

EdisonBull Baseball Team with TAE 1920s

Down at his winter home in Ft. Myers Florida, Edison enjoyed watching the boys tune-up their Spring training for the up-coming season. His attraction to the Philadelphia Athletics [later to become the Kansas City Athletics and later the Oakland A’s] was enshrined in this circa 1925 photo of Tom with (l. to r.) Ty Cobb and Connie Mack. He befriended legendary team manager Connie Mack, often socializing with him and other members of the team, and even occasionally hosting them at his estate. Edison remained a loyal fan, attending Athletics’ spring training and regular season games.

Connie Mack-TAE-Ty Cobb [best]

There was another fascinating connection Edison had with baseball. His Portland Cement (about 68,000 bags of it) was used to build the world’s most iconic ballpark-Yankee Stadium.

Umpire clip art

Play Ball!

Check these sites out:

  • http://edison.rutgers.edu/baseball.htm
  • http://www.edisonmuckers.org/the-house-that-babe-ruth%e2%80%a6-and-edison-built/

Thomas Edison on Time Magazine“I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

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Edison – Premier Job Creator

“Because of him, the millennium will end in a wash of brilliant light rather than in torchlight darkness as it began.” -Life Magazine

Edison in his beloved chemistry lab

Edison in his beloved chemistry lab

In today’s highly charged political environment, folks like to talk about creating jobs and who is best able to do this. Thomas Edison moved to West Orange, NJ in 1886, to live and create what would become his great invention and manufacturing facility-his legendary West Orange Labs. Nothing but farmland in 1887 when construction begins, by 1905, there are over 14,000 people working there-with a full complement of buildings on 25 acres of land.

Here is the real magic of Edison, who teaches the world a powerful economic lesson-the incredible value of R&D in new product development. By 1905, there are about 250 people working in Edison’s invention factory [photo below], where 30-40 project teams are busy creating and building new products.

Edison’s heavy machine shop-where invention prototypes take shape

Edison’s heavy machine shop-where invention prototypes take shape

As Edison himself approves these prototypes for production, the other 14,000 employees then make, market, and sell the new products. That is a manpower leverage of almost 60 to 1. An R&D job is capable of creating about 60 more manufacturing jobs. This is the essence of a technology driven economy and what we have generally come to call “progress”. Last year, the U.S. spent almost $500 billion on R&D, across all economic sectors.

Edison enjoying a meal with fellow inventors, his “Muckers”

Edison enjoying a meal with fellow inventors, his “Muckers”

In 2012, the Voice of America proclaimed Thomas Edison was probably responsible for one-fourth of all the jobs on the planet. Something he achieved in his labs or patented, or an industry he created, resulted in significant jobs and economies that have come down to us today.

“Among life’s many conveniences we can take for granted, thanks in part to him [Edison]: copiers, radio, movies, TV, phones (he improved Bell’s).” –Life Magazine

Following this up, the Edison Innovation Foundation commissioned in 2015 its own economic analysis of Edison’s impact on our economy. Examining the productivity ripple effect of Edison’s major accomplishments, approximately 10% of the annual national economy, about $1.6 trillion, is directly attributable to the great inventor’s work. At an international level, this translates to about $6-7 trillion per year.

The best way to sum up Edison’s impact is to quote Life Magazine, which proclaimed Edison the “Man of the Millennium!”

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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