AmphiLight: Direct Air-Water Communication with Laser Light


Charles J. Carver and Zhao Tian, Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College; Hongyong Zhang and Kofi M. Odame, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College; Alberto Quattrini Li and Xia Zhou, Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College
Awarded Best Paper!


Air-water communication is fundamental for efficient underwater operations, such as environmental monitoring, surveying, or coordinating of heterogeneous aerial and underwater systems. Existing wireless techniques mostly focus on a single physical medium and fall short in achieving high-bandwidth bidirectional communication across the air-water interface. We propose a bidirectional, direct air-water wireless communication link based on laser light, capable of (1) adapting to water dynamics with ultrasonic sensing and (2) steering within a full 3D hemisphere using only a MEMS mirror and passive optical elements. In real-world experiments, our system achieves static throughputs up to 5.04 Mbps, zero-BER transmission ranges up to 6.1m in strong ambient light conditions, and connection time improvements between 47.1% and 29.5% during wave dynamics.

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@inproceedings {246296,
author = {Charles J. Carver and Zhao Tian and Hongyong Zhang and Kofi M. Odame and Alberto Quattrini Li and Xia Zhou},
title = {{AmphiLight}: Direct {Air-Water} Communication with Laser Light },
booktitle = {17th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-13-7},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {373--388},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb,

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