Will This Innovative Antenna Move Smart Clothing Forward?

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Will This Innovative Antenna Move Smart Clothing Forward?

03/28/2017
It's inevitable. As consumers grow increasingly interested in monitoring our health, or tracking our fitness training, or connecting to the internet of things (IoT), we will continue to search for smart wearables to provide us with that coveted real-time data. Wrist-worn devices will be pushed aside for the newcomer to the market: smart clothing. It's fashionable, smart, wearable technology. The fashionable part might be easy, but getting smart clothes to communicate with the outside world has proven to be difficult.

The human body is the challenge. Conventional antennas work poorly when placed adjacent to the body, impairing performance. These conventional wearable antennae detune and have narrow bands. They change performance when moistened by sweat, or crinkle and stop working as the body moves.

However, fractal antennas, invented by Fractal Antenna Systems, beat these odds. Fractal antennas are built on repeating scales of size (self-similar), and their intricate structure allows them to be robust against detuning and cover many bands, and or be wideband. Fractal antennas can be built into the cloth and conform with it, an invisible part of the clothing itself. Fractal antennas are the perfect solution for wearable smart clothing.

Wearable fractal antennas first saw use in the U.S. military, where Fractal Antenna Systems used its patented IP to come up with critical solutions. Not only has the firm created wearable fractal antennas, but its baseline of experience on these garment-oriented antennas also extends over 15 years. Furthermore it owns the source patent (7,830,319) for such garment fractal antennas, and has several pending patents as well.

In 2017, the need for better antennas for smart clothing finally caught up with the solution. Fractal antennas have been shown, by more than a dozen of independent research groups worldwide, to be a great solution for smart clothing — and in many cases, the only one.

Clothing designers and manufacturers have taken notice.

"This is one of many cases where the validation and the markets finally caught up with our innovations," said Fractal Antenna Systems CEO Nathan Cohen. "Fractal antennas are becoming a big part of making clothing more than just a fashionable cover-up but an enabler for sensors and communication, keeping us all healthier and in touch."

Fractal Antenna Systems is working with its customers to provide custom wearable solutions that make smart clothing long-lasting and cost-effective. "The message is getting out that we are the go-to guys for antenna solutions in smart clothing, and it's great to be working with these fantastic commercial applications," added Cohen.