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Apple optical data transfer patent can be a gamechanger as it could facilitate super fast communications between devices. According to the patent granted yesterday, the technology can end up offering transfer speeds of terabits per second.

About Apple optical data transfer patent

Actually, optical data transfer is nothing new, it has been used at both network levels ie fiber optic cable and via optical fiber connections at home in Hi Fi systems known as TOSLINK. 

This type of connectivity has an advantage over traditional copper cables as it does not suffer from RF interference or ground loops.

While Cable-free optical comms have been used since 1999,  back in those days mobile email systems used infra-red communication between a Psion 5mx and a Nokia 7110.

Though it is very sensitive to align cable-free optical data transfer and this is exactly what Apple patent seeks to solve.Apple Optical Data Transfer PatentAccording to Apple, “An electronic device can include a free-space optical communication system to wirelessly transmit, receive, or exchange data with another electronic device. In some cases, the optical communication system may be configured to be directional (e.g., line-of-sight) in order to increase data transfer rates, to increase data transfer privacy, or for any other suitable purpose. “

The company further mentioned, “However, a conventional directional free-space optical communication system is exceptionally dependent on precise alignment of communicating devices. As such, conventional free-space optical communication systems cannot be incorporated into portable electronic devices that may be moved or repositioned from time to time.” 

This means anything less than the optimal alignment can dramatically reduce transfer speeds. 

Apple’s invention consists of a moveable lens at each end,  used by each device to change the alignment of the optical signal. It uses the feedback from the other lens to achieve the highest possible transfer speeds. According to the contents of the patent one device moves its lens around until the second device says, “Stop, this position gives the highest speeds.” While the second device does the same thing so that both lenses are perfectly aligned.

According to Apple, this approach can be faster than radio communications, though it would be more secure due to the proximity and careful alignment required.

[quote bgcolor=’#749bbf’ color=’#ffffff’]A directional free-space optical communication system can facilitate increased data transfer rates (e.g., tens of gigabits per second to terabits per second), increased data transfer privacy, and increased data transfer security relative to conventional device-to-device data communication protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Near-Field Communications, or Bluetooth.[/quote]

All the readers though need to understand companies keep coming up with new ideas in the form of patents, though not all these ideas make its way to the production table.

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