A toy car that lights up when it passes by an LED? Disney wants to make it happen

disney is using visible light communication in some new toys
Recently, a team of researchers formerly of the University of Virginia launched a company that’s working on a way to connect to the Internet through light bulbs. Essentially, LEDs would use light waves, instead of radio waves, to send signals to devices in your home. The Li-Fi concept has been around a while, floated for use in hospitals and airplanes and other places radio waves aren’t welcome, but Disney wants to put it to use for more sophisticated toys.

Disney researchers want to use “visible light communication” in a variety of interesting capacities, from making a story’s text appear on a tablet to turning on flashing lights in a princess dress using an LED magic wand. Thanks to a unique property of LEDs, not shared by incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, they can be turned off and their intensity modulated at very high speeds. With the right equipment, other LEDs can detect these changes, though the human eye cannot. In this way, the visible light acts as a signal between the two devices.

In a video, Disney shows a couple ways it could use VLC. Light bulbs could communicate with toys, setting off the lights and siren of a miniature ambulance. The same toy could also talk to a tablet or smartphone, as well as other cars. Of course, if the toy is communicating with a bulb, that means playtime is definitely over when the lights go out.

There are lots of other possibilities for Li-Fi as LEDs become cheaper and more commonplace, like a store’s bulbs sending a signal to your smartphone when a nearby item goes on sale, as Gizmodo points out. More notifications on our phones is definitely not something we look forward to, but that princess dress would make one awesome Halloween costume.

Movies & TV

The 10 most brutal battle scenes in Game of Thrones, from Hardhome to The Door

Game of Thrones features some of the most gruesome, brutal battle scenes in all of television, with severed limbs, burning bodies, and every other morbid form of death you could possibly imagine. Here are the 10 best.
Gaming

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (April 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Gaming

Having PS4 problems? Check out our solutions to its most common issues

Just because the PlayStation 4 is a remarkable system doesn't mean that it's immune to the occasional hiccup. Lucky for you, we've vetted some of the bigger PS4 problems and found solutions for whatever might ail you.
Smart Home

Whip it, blend it, and mix it up with the best hand mixers of 2019

A stand mixer takes up a lot of room on the counter, and it can also be quite expensive. Need an option that's not only affordable but also takes up very little real estate in your kitchen cabinets? Check out these hand mixers.
Smart Home

Power through your afternoon slump with the best espresso machines

Brew professional-style espresso drinks and become the envy of your neighborhood with one of the best espresso machines on the planet. We have options across a range of price points, perfect for any budget.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on Nespresso coffee and espresso machines

Amazon has dropped prices on Nespresso coffee machines and a milk frother in an Easter week sale. Nespresso's coffee appliances use single-serve capsules and one-button selection to produce barista-quality espresso and coffee at home.
Smart Home

Watch: Police responding to an alleged buglary find a Roomba, not a robber

Police officers in Washington County, Oregon responded to a call of a potential burglary and were surprised to find the perpetrator was actually just a Roomba. Body cam footage of the encounter has been released.
Deals

Amazon slashes Easter Week prices for Dyson vacuums and air purifiers

Amazon slashed the prices on many Dyson high-tech products, including vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and more for Easter Week. Dyson's premium household tools attract millions of fans and Amazon took deep discounts on popular products.
Smart Home

What you need to know before buying a new washer and dryer

Washers and dryers are big, expensive appliances that you'll want to last for decades. Our buying guide will help you sift through all the options and find the best machines for you.
Deals

Amazon and Best Buy halve the price of the Facebook Portal for Mother’s Day

Amazon and Best Buy both cut the price in half for the Facebook Portal smart display for Mother's Day. The Portal's smart camera will follow you as you move around the room during video calls. The Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in.
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
Smart Home

Ring home security system now works as a hub for smart home devices

Ring is helping the issue of smart home fragmentation with its Works With Ring program. It lets thousands of smart home devices built on Z-Wave connect to Ring's Alarm Base Station.
Smart Home

Philips Hue users can activate their favorite routines through Google Home

Philips Hue expanded its Google Home integration through the Gentle Sleep and Wake routine. Just give Google the proper instructions are your lights will brighten or dim over half an hour.