The Australian Government recently announced AU$34.9 million in funding to the Australian National University (ANU) to develop, among other technologies, super-fast, light-based wireless communications known as ‘Li-Fi’.
The Minister for Education, Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced the grant to the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, which will be led by ANU Professor Dragomir Neshev. ARC will drive research to develop miniaturised optical devices that link the digital and physical worlds through light.
Professor Neshev said: “This work will make Australia a leader in the optical technologies for the fourth industrial revolution. It will underpin light-based Wi-Fi – which is a thousand times faster than current technologies – to be used in our mobile phones and laptops.
“We will help create optical systems that empower autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, wearable sensors and remote-sensing. It will also produce holographic displays and augmented reality for more immersive and powerful education in our classrooms, and laser tech that makes autonomous vehicles better at predicting and avoiding hazards.”
ANU Provost Professor Mike Calford thanked the Government and Minister Tehan for the significant funding, saying the new Centre would help boost Australia’s economy: “This revolutionary new Centre will help strengthen Australia’s very own knowledge economy – setting up a global epicentre for light-based research and development that will develop the products of tomorrow, today.
“Currently, light underpins industry worth approximately $1,000 billion to the world economy. This transformational leap will make Australia’s economy stronger, enrich daily lives and create a safer environment that cannot be achieved with today’s technology.”
The Centre will be led by ANU and partner with the University of Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, and the University of Western Australia, as well as industry and universities across six other countries.