Abstract—We introduce a new communications technology, which we refer to as augmented-reality optical narrowcasting. This technology has the potential to significantly enhance smartphone consumer communications by enabling information exchange between multiple transmitters and multiple receivers using free-space optical data transmission. A practical communication range of 400 meters in broad daylight is achievable with miniaturized optics transmitting HD video. An augmented-reality-style user interface, wherein visual representations of available information sources are overlaid on a live display of video imagery allows users to conveniently manage transmissions from multiple parties. The new technology is envisioned to be installed in smartphones and other mobile devices and in vehicles, opening new vistas for commerce and social interaction. We have demonstrated key features of the technology using custom optical communications hardware and software developed especially for this purpose.
Keywords—optical communication, consumer electronics, augmented reality, smartphones, mobile devices, nonimaging optics