ARON – or Augmented-Reality Optical Narrowcasting – is a new communications channel that operates without relying on cellular networks or the Internet, instead utilizing infrared light. SureFire, a tactical equipment company, is debuting the technology at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. The company says ARON is “300 times more energy efficient than Wi-Fi, and can operate on solar power.”
ARON could change the way humans interact with the world, according to SureFire. The new communications system sends data via infrared light waves, using “a patented combination of optical beacons and signals.” Users can send any kind of digital information such as high-definition videos on the optical communications channel – as far away as 400 meters, or around 1,312 feet, in the daytime and 1,200 meters, or around 3,937 feet, at night, according to Engadget.
ARON acts as an alternative to radio frequency waves, already used by smartphones, and is said to be secure and fast. The communications platform is as of now unregulated, potentially opening up a lot of opportunities for companies.
SureFire’s video shows people utilizing the communications channel for augmented reality on smartphones, glasses, and car windshields. The company is also marketing ARON as useful during a natural disaster – it allows public information to flow even if the power is down, so first responders could reach trapped people, for example.
Engadget pointed out it will take a while to deploy ARON on a large scale – someone would have to install sensors on buildings, freeways, or any other object or person needing to send data. They said the technology currently exists in demo form.
SureFire’s video says the system can be installed in any car or mobile device, and “is inexpensive to deploy and use.”