Optical fibers can be used in communication systems, such as telephones, TV and computer networking. They are specially useful in long-distance communications, as light quickly propagates through the fiber. The optical fiber also offers very low attenuation to minimize the use of repeaters in long-haul communication system such as transcontinental cables. According to Pelin Aksoy in “Information Technology in Theory,” optical fiber can also replace metal in computer hardware.
Optical fibers are widely used in decorative illumination applications, such as art installations and artificial Christmas trees. Optical fibers can also be used in ecofriendly constructions, routing sunlight from the roof to darker parts of the building. According to the website Patents Storm, optical fibers can also be coupled with LED lights and then used in seat coverings for cars, providing colorful illumination effects.
The use of optical light guides for viewing the human body dates back to 1880, when a bent glass rod was used to illuminate body cavities, says Casimer DeCusatis in “Fiber Optic Essentials.” Today, optical fibers are used in endoscopy and laser surgery to reach inside the human body in a less invasive way. In addition to human applications, optical fibers are also used in veterinary medicine.