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Antenna-Embedded Clothing Is Better Than Regular Antennas

Researchers have developed an antenna system that can be built into clothing, and that has been shown to outperform conventional wearable whip antennas

“In the recent past, we’ve seen outfits that incorporate bio-sensors and batteries, and even a bikini with integrated solar cells. One of the latest innovations in smart fabrics, however, allows a person’s clothing to act as multiple antennas. Developed at Ohio State University (OSU), the system could prove particularly useful to soldiers, who don’t want to be encumbered by a protruding whip antenna…

The engineers have created a prototype, made by etching thin layers of brass onto commercially-available FR-4 flexible plastic film, then sewing that film onto conventional fabric. Four patches of the plastic were attached to a vest on the chest, back and both shoulders. These were wired to the controller, an inch-thick metal box slightly smaller than a credit card, which was worn on a belt.

Because the body’s position may result in one or more of the antennas being blocked by obstacles, or short-circuited against the wearer’s skin, the controller is able to switch between antennas so that the one best able to transmit and receive is activated. In lab tests, the vest was found to be able to work in all directions, offering four times the range of a standard military whip antenna.”

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