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Researchers Create New Flexible Waterproof Embroidered Antenna
12/10/2013
A new embroidered antenna designed by researchers in the UK could replace traditional monopole antennas. (Image: Nottingham Trent University)

A new embroidered antenna designed by researchers in the UK could replace traditional monopole antennas. (Image: Nottingham Trent University)

Researchers in the UK have developed a prototype garment with an embroidered antenna in a breakthrough that could take wearable communications to the next level.

The antenna was designed by members of Loughborough University and the Advanced Textiles Research Group at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art & Design. The team used altered conventional embroidery machinery and yarns with interwoven conductive threads to fabricate the antenna, which can be applied to any garment using a process that is faster and less expensive than current methods used to create traditional antennas.

The new embroidered antenna could benefit search and rescue teams and military personnel by  replacing traditional monopole antennas, which are “bulky, heavy and prone to breaking,” Tilak Dias, who heads the Advanced Textiles Research Group at Nottingham Trent University, said. “They also attract unwanted attention for the military during covert and secure operations. This new design solves such problems by being small, lightweight, flexible and weather-resistant.”

“Producing an effective flexible, fabric antenna presented many technical challenges, but working with our colleagues at Nottingham Trent University over the last three years we have been able to develop a working prototype which could be adapted for a multitude of applications,” Yiannis Vardaxoglou, head of the Wireless Communications Research Group at Loughborough University, said.

Testing of the antenna’s capabilities is currently being carried out in Loughborough University’s anechoic microwave measurement chambers.

 

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