Home / Knowledge / News / Information Technology / Wearable computing opens new frontiers in communications
Wearable computing opens new frontiers in communications
29
Sep '09
With a simple press on his shirt insignia, the captain of the Star Ship Enterprise could send and receive messages. Now, thanks to the efforts of a Finnish company supported by ESA, this futuristic communication may not be limited to fiction.

Through the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) 5 project 'Textile Antennas', the Finnish Patria Aviation Oy company has demonstrated that an antenna can be built using textiles that can be worn and used for personal satellite communication.

"Flexible antennas are becoming attractive, since the recent developments in 'wearable computing' have opened several possibilities to integrate wireless functions into clothing," explained Rolv Midthassel, ESA's representative on the project.

The project included the complete process, from selecting and characterising the materials, to making and verifying the design. The resulting demonstrator antenna looks like a simple patch of cloth and is capable of operating in the Iridium and GPS frequency band as part of clothing.

"The use of GPS and the Iridium satellite phone system for this project may be an attractive combination for a later product," said Mr Midthassel. "The Iridium satellites allow two-way voice and data communication, while GPS provides positional data to the user. Iridium could also relay the position of the user to operational centres."

The project's main issue was selecting the material to use. Then the material's electrical characteristics had to be measured using a number of techniques. The next goal was to determine the antenna's performance when the wearer was moving around or bending.

Peter de Maagt, ESA's technical officer on the project, explained that the antenna's geometry allows it to bend in a direction that least reduces performance. Testing proved that the antenna meets the electrical specifications under bending conditions.

The radiating patch antenna is shielded against environmental conditions by a protective layer. The selected geometry meets the stringent requirements imposed by Iridium and GPS, maintaining 'circular polarisation' of its radio signal over the full bandwidth even when bent, which is commonly recognised to be difficult to achieve with soft, wearable antennas.

Then there was the question of handling the material itself. Could it be washed and at what temperature? How must it be stitched? Could it be ironed?

Dr Pekka Salonen, Research and Development Manager at Patria Aviation Oy, said that working with ESA through the ARTES programme has been beneficial. "We have been pushed to go further to reach the goal of what we promised to do," he said.

"Comments and suggestions from ESA staff during the project have been valuable, giving us new insight into all the variables we should take into account, apart from the engineering factors. The results are a good example of close cooperation between the customer and contractor."

Testing has indicated that a textile antenna is feasible. One of the tests used the antenna to place calls with the Iridium phone to ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from the company in Finland.

"We are pleased with the results of this project," said Mr Midthassel, who sees many potential applications. "Such an antenna could be used in occupations such as fire fighting and other emergency situations."

European Space Agency

Must ReadView All

Textiles | On 29th May 2017

Special package creates 7,50,000 jobs in garment sector

The special garment package of Rs 6,000 crore that was introduced by...

Md Siddiqur Rahman, president, BGMEA, addressing a press conference with other dignitaries. Courtesy: BGMEA

Apparel/Garments | On 29th May 2017

BGMEA asks govt for 5% incentive for 2 years in Budget

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association...

Textiles | On 29th May 2017

Tintex, Bruckner bring new effects to knitted fabric

The textile company Tintex has joined hands with the system supplier...

Interviews View All

Darshan Mehta
Infinium Polychem

We are spending double digit figures on R&D

Varinder Singh Jawanda
Trendy Bharat

Sizing and fitting issues are inherent problems for companies expanding...

C. Dhandayuthapani
Mag Solvics Pvt. Ltd

ITME 2016 exploited our full strength like never before

Ashok Desai
Bombay Textile Research Association

Bombay Textile Research Association (BTRA) is a leading name in textile...

Suresh Patel
Sidwin Fabric

Sidwin Fabric is a manufacturer and exporter of polypropylene textiles and ...

Kai Poehler
Voith Paper GmbH & Co. KG

The glass mat industry is growing by five to eight per cent annually. Kai...

Yash P. Kotak
Bombay Hemp Company

One of the directors of Bombay Hemp Company, Yash P. Kotak, speaks to...

Robert Brunner
Devereux

Golfwear and menswear brand Devereux is set for greener pastures. Robert...

Sanjukta Dutta
Sanjukta's Studio

<b>Sanjukta Dutta</b> creates unique garments by clubbing prints of...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

news category


Related Categories:
May 2017

May 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search