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Turning gamers into digital designers

Turning gamers into digital designers | emerging learning | Scoop.it
During an open night at Shirley Boys’ High School for prospective families, a group of Year 10 students waited for their audience. The lads fired up their devices, pulled out decks of cards and it …
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Collaborative learning environment with a by-product of an awesome resource created by students. 
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Meet The Revolutionary Wireless Technology That Is 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi

Meet The Revolutionary Wireless Technology That Is 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi | emerging learning | Scoop.it

Imagine a world where every one of the billions of lightbulbs in use today is a wireless hotspot delivering connectivity at speeds that can only be dreamed of with Wi-Fi. That's the goal of the man who invented such a technology, and this week Li-Fi took a step out of the domain of science fiction and into the realm of the real when it was shown to deliver speeds 100 times faster than current Wi-Fi technology in actual tests.


An Estonian startup called Velmenni used a Li-Fi-enabled lightbulb to transmit data at speeds as fast as 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), which is about 100 times faster than current Wi-Fi technology, meaning a high-definition film could be downloaded within seconds. The real-world test is the first to be carried out, but laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of 224 Gbps.


So, just what is Li-Fi, how does it work, and will it really revolutionize the way we connect to the Internet? Li-Fi refers to visible light communications (VLC) technology, which delivers high-speed, bidirectional, networked mobile communications in a manner similar to Wi-Fi. It promises huge speed advantages, as well as more-secure communications and reduced device interference.


The term was coined by German physicist Harald Haas during a TED Talk when he outlined the idea of using lightbulbs as wireless routers. That address was delivered four years ago, and many people speculated that, like a lot of apparent revolutionary breakthroughs, Li-Fi would go the way of other "next big things" and not come to fruition. A year after his TED Talk, though, Haas, a professor of mobile communications at the University of Edinburgh, created pureLiFi with a group of people who had been researching the technology since 2008. The company has claimed to be the "recognized leaders in Li-Fi technology" and has already produced two products. On Wednesday, pureLiFi announced a partnership in which a French industrial-lighting company will roll out the firm's VLC technology in its products by the third quarter of 2016.


Haas said during his Ted Talk in 2011 that the current infrastructure would allow every single LED lightbulb to be transformed into an ultrafast wireless router. "All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission," Haas said. "In the future, we will not only have 14 billion lightbulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even brighter future."


Because Li-Fi technology uses visible light as its means of communication, it won't work through walls. This means that to have a Li-Fi network throughout your house, you will need these lightbulbs in every room (and maybe even the fridge) to have seamless connectivity.


Another major issue is that Li-Fi does not work outdoors, meaning that public Li-Fi will not be able to replace public Wi-Fi networks any time soon. While Li-Fi's employment in direct sunlight won't be possible, pureLiFi said that through the use of filters the technology can be used indoors even when sunlight is present.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Learning Futures: Emerging technologies, pedagogies, and contexts

Slides from an invited speech given to the Technology in Higher Education Conference, National Convention Centre, Doha, Qatar. 16 April, 2013.

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The Future of Wi-Fi Is 10,000 Times More Energy Efficient

The Future of Wi-Fi Is 10,000 Times More Energy Efficient | emerging learning | Scoop.it

Engineering students have discovered a way to reflect Wi-Fi packets instead of broadcasting them. It’s a problem that’s rapidly getting worse as more and more devices require access to the cloud, not to mention the constant strain of searching for a good signal or boosting a weak one.

 

The student researchers invented a new type of hardware that uses 10,000 times less power than traditional Wi-Fi networking equipment. It’s called Passive Wi-Fi, (you canread their paper here) and it works just like a home router, just more efficiently. To give some perspective, the state of the art in low power Wi-Fi transmissions today consume 100s of milliwatts of power, whereas the technology the student researchers developed consume only 10-50 microwatts—10,000 times lower power. 

 

Wi-Fi typically requires two radios to communicate back and forth, and it takes a lot of energy to discern the signal from the noise because there may be several devices using the same frequency (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz). Each device has an RF transmitter that creates a radio wave and a baseband chip that encodes that radio wave with data. With Passive Wi-Fi, instead of each device using an analog radio frequency to receive and transmit a signal, just one produces a radio frequency. That frequency is relayed to your Wi-Fi-enabled device via separate, passive sensors that have only the baseband chip and an antenna and require almost no power. Those sensors pick up the signal and mirror it in a way that sends readable Wi-Fi to any device that has a Wi-Fi chipset in it. This may sound a lot like a mesh network, with the signal bouncing from antenna point to antenna point, but it’s not. A mesh network uses multiple routers, with full analog RF transmitters and digital baseband chips to receive and rebroadcast a signal.

 

“The low power passive device isn’t transmitting anything at all. It’s creating Wi-Fi packets just by reflection,” says Vamsi Talla, another student working on the project. “It’s a transmission technique that’s ultra low-powered, as opposed to a network device.” That “reflection” happens via a process called “backscatter,” and the students at UW have created Wi-Fi equipment that sends out a signal via backscatter instead of using a full radio signal.

 

Right now most devices do not have the backscatter hardware inside of them to send Wi-Fi packets back to the Internet-connected router. But if this technology takes off, it could increase the amount of devices that are connected to the Internet because it nearly nullifies previous energy constraints of making a device Wi-Fi compatible.

 

To be clear, Passive Wi-Fi still requires running one Wi-Fi router, and Wi-Fi routers aren’t super energy efficient. The Environmental Projection Agency even created an Energy Star certification for home networking devices in 2013 to try to encourage the manufacture of less energy intensive devices. According to the EPA’s website, “If all small network equipment sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $590 million each year and more than 7 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented.”  The energy savings with Passive Wi-Fi come from the Wi-Fi transmission chipset in devices that communicate via wireless Internet, not the router connected to the initial uplink.

 

It’s hard to say what this will do for your battery life, because there are so many components in a device that impact that—like the screen, for example. “But using Passive Wi-Fi would improve battery life by about as much as turning your Wi-Fi off would,” said Bryce Kellogg, an electrical engineering graduate student at UW who co-developed Passive Wi-Fi.

 

In the future, these passive sensors may even end up in our devices themselves, reflecting packets to send back to the router instead of broadcasting new transmitter waves. For now, using the hardware can reduce the energy used to spread Wi-Fi to devices.

 

“Our passive Wi-Fi devices now talk up to 11 megabits per second,” said Kellogg. For comparison’s sake, that’s 11 times faster than Bluetooth. One of the main selling points of devices communicating via Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi has been Bluetooth’s comparatively low energy consumption. But Passive Wi-Fi is 1,000 times more energy efficient than Bluetooth, and the network can be secured like any Wi-Fi signal can, unlike Bluetooth.

 

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Generation YES » Youth & Educators Succeeding

Generation YES » Youth & Educators Succeeding | emerging learning | Scoop.it

Generation YES is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) with a mission to empower students and teachers to use technology to improve education in their own school. Our school-friendly online tools and innovative project-based curriculum build a learning community where students work alongside their teachers as technology leaders, collaborators and mentors. 15 years of research experience and proven scientific results show that when schools trust and collaborate with their students to integrate technology, academic success follows.

 

We believe in Participatory Learning - where students and teachers work together to create optimal conditions for learning in every classroom; where students are agents of change, rather than objects of change.


Via Dennis T OConnor
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Dennis T OConnor's curator insight, July 30, 2013 1:33 PM

GenYes has been a great idea that's weathered the test of time. Students help teachers with technology. What better role reversal could there be?  If your school is struggling with tech support, the answer is right here.  Even if your school is cruising along with great tech infrastructure, letting the kids take over is one of the best things you can do to prepare a modern learner. 


Investigate this program!