Education, Feature

Scottish school trials Li-Fi

Kyle Academy pupil Toby Nixon, pureLiFi CEO Alistair Banham, Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse and pureLi-Fi founder Professor Harald Haas at the launch of the Li-Fi technology trial at the school yesterday

A SECONDARY school in Scotland is trialling the delivery of the internet using its lighting.

The Kyle Academy secondary school in Ayr has become one of the first in the world to use visible light from LED luminaires as a medium to connect to the web.

The pupils insert a special memory-stick sized dongle into their devices whose photoreceptor receives the data embedded in the modulated visible light. The upload link is via an infra-red transmitter on the dongle.

The pupils insert a special memory-stick sized dongle into their devices whose photoreceptor receives the data embedded in the modulated visible light.

The trial of so-called Li-Fi (Wi-Fi using high-frequency modulated visible light) is being conducted in conjunction with The University of Edinburgh and is being overseen by Scottish Futures Trust, which supports the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy.

The Scottish Government also supported the pilot with a £16,000 grant through its Digital Schools initiative for equipment and installation. Scottish Li-Fi pioneer pureLiFi and the LiFi Research and Development Centre at the University of Edinburgh provided resources for the execution of the pilot with hands-on support and subsequent testing.

PureLiFi says the project makes South Ayrshire Council’s Kyle Academy is the first school globally to pilot real Li-Fi technology in the classroom.

The installation of pureLiFi’s LiFi-XC system, comprises of eight LiFi-enabled LED light bulbs in the ceiling and students have been given access to LiFi-XC Stations that plug into their laptops enabling high-speed connectivity through the lights.

Li-Fi technology is a high-speed, bidirectional, secure and fully networked wireless communication that uses light, rather than radio waves used in Wi-Fi, to transmit data. By using light waves, Li-Fi offers unprecedented bandwidth, which significantly enhances the connectivity of the classroom to enhance the learning environment by facilitating high-bandwidth learning materials such as videos and e-books.

With the increasing number of internet-connected devices in classrooms, installing Li-Fi alongside Wi-Fi provides additional bandwidth to reduce network congestion – enabling students to stream educational videos and download resources. Wireless connectivity is also in growing demand as schools seek to cater for more students by maximising the use of space with flexible work areas through the use of mobile devices, such as laptops, rather than a room of wired-internet PCs.

‘It is exciting to be part the world first LiFi deployment in a school’, said pupil Toby Nixon, ‘especially because it is a technology born in Scotland a country with a proud history of innovation.’

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands – who visited the students taking part in the trial to find out about their experiences – told Lux: ‘We’re pleased to support a Scottish-born company whose complementary, emerging technology has the potential to transform delivery of wireless broadband communications.

‘The proof of concept trial in Kyle Academy represents a potentially very valuable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of evolving 5G technologies.’

PureLi-Fi founder Professor Harald Haas said: ‘Li-Fi was born in Scotland at a TED Global talk that I presented in 2011. Seven years later, I’m thrilled to see true Li-Fi deployed for the first time in a school in Scotland.

‘Connectivity has become a basic need to enable prosperity. This world’s first pilot not only offers secure connectivity in a School, but hopefully inspires the next generation to join us in innovating for humanity and prosperity.’


  • See Li-Fi products in action for yourself at this year’s LuxLive 2018 exhibition taking place on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018 at ExCeL London. Entry is free. See the full events and conferences programme HERE.