Technology.am (Sept. 30, 2009) — 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.
The 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.”
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.
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.