|30 November 2015|

Telephone, television, x-ray: just three in a rather long list of Scottish inventions that have revolutionised our world.

On this St Andrew’s Day the country can be rightly proud of that history and of the pioneering spirit that still burns brightly in this corner of northern Europe.

Scotland is home to some of the greatest universities in the world, institutions driven by innovation. They have educated some of the world’s greatest philosophers, scientists and economists.

They continue to be a hotbed of innovation and today work closer than ever with business and industry. These collaborative relationships are part of a culture of perpetual innovation in Scotland that is strengthening the economy at home and boosting exports worldwide.

Scottish organisations like Interface and University Technology work to link academia and business and are integral to fostering this culture.

Edinburgh University has been in the headlines over the past few days for an innovative technology that could improve the lives of people living in the world’s poorest countries.

Li-Fi technology is a new form of wireless data communication that can be powered by solar energy and could bring significant and profound commercial and social benefits to millions of people across the world.

Developed by a research team at the University of Edinburgh’s Li-Fi R&D Centre, led by Professor Harald Haas, this will have impact particularly for populations in rural communities and the developing world that do not have existing infrastructures for electric power, the internet and Wi-Fi access.

Professor Haas said: “The potential expansion to the internet is massive and my aspiration is that this broadband solar panel receiver technology for Li-Fi will help solve the challenges of the digital divide throughout the world, and catalyse the uptake of the IoT as connectivity and battery-free power supplies are essential if we want to connect a trillion objects to the internet.”