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Casio PicapiCamera iPhone app is the world’s first to use visible light communication technology
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Casio PicapiCamera iPhone app is the world’s first to use visible light communication technology

PicapiCamera, developed by Casio, is the world's first iPhone app which uses visible light communication technology.

To send and receive data via the app, the message to be sent is encoded using red, green and blue flashing lights and shown on the display. The receiver points their iPhone at the flashing lights and the data is transferred.

"There are two approaches to communication using visible light. One is to embed data in the light from illumination sources, by turning it on and off at high speed, as a natural way of communicating information. With that approach, devices use photodiodes. The other approach involves image sensors. A device that captures light is a camera, so the idea is to relate light obtained by a camera to information. We're using the camera approach - visible light communication through image sensors."

"When exchanging addresses, this system can send addresses to up to five people, rather than just one-to-one."

"If you would like to send your address to someone else, you just net to set it and then send it. This isn't just one on one, you can send your address to up to five people, and you can also receive five addresses at once too."

As the amount of data that can be transferred via the sequence of flashing lights is only a single 8-bit word, and ID number in conjunction with GPS data is used to download the relevant content from a cloud server.

In the future, Casio plans to use this system to compliment digital signage solutions, as it is able to deliver location specific content to users.

"We've asked the server, "What is ID 100 at Makuhari?" The reply "It's this picture" is coming back now."

"The imaging range is about 1 m with a 1 cm diameter. It's hard to read a QR code from a long range, but with this system, the camera only needs to capture a few pixels that make up a block of color. For example, if you can get, say, 30 cm making up a very small part of signage in front of a station, you can send information maybe a hundred meters. So, this system differs from QR codes by having a long range and enabling multiple content downloads."

Picapicamera - Photo 1 Picapicamera - Photo 2 Picapicamera - Photo 3 Picapicamera - Photo 4
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