Grand Idea Studio



The OpticSpy modules provide a platform to explore, evaluate, and experiment with optical data transmissions. They capture, amplify, and convert optical signals into digital form that can be analyzed or decoded with a computer.

All designs are distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-3.0 United States license.

Application Ideas:

  • Search for optical covert channels (methods of exfiltrating data in a way undetectable to the human eye) that may exist within devices
  • Add data transfer functionality to a project
  • Discover Li-Fi, Visible Light Communication (VLC), or other optical networking systems



OpticSpy Analog (Crowd Supply):

OpticSpy Analog (Kit Version):

OpticSpy Digital (Kit Version):

Laser Diode Module Driver:

microSD-to-Serial Interface:



Using an Arduino Uno with external LED to send a secret message via optical covert channel.

Parallax Propeller:

Using the Propeller-based Hackable Electronic Badge to send a secret message via infrared LED. The LCD displays the message being transmitted.


Using Tomu’s red LED to send a secret message via optical covert channel.

TP-link TL-WR841N:

Using the router’s WAN LED to exfiltrate data via optical covert channel. As a proof-of-concept, the payload is loaded onto the device with known administrator credentials.

MacBook Pro Keyboard Backlight:

Using the MacBook Pro’s keyboard backlight LEDs as a proof-of-concept optical covert channel. OS X modulates the LEDs at 100Hz, 75% duty cycle, which prevents the use of a high data rate and presents a noticeable flicker when data is being sent.



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