As consumers become more interested in monitoring health, or tracking fitness training, or connecting to the internet of things (IoT), the demand for smart wearables will continue to grow. Currently wrist worn devices seem to be the most popular form factor for these solutions. However way to collect all this real-time data would be Smart Clothing. This does not require you to wear an additional device and is more natural, as the sensors and required circuits are built in to something that you already wear.
However, getting smart clothes to communicate with the outside world has proven to be very difficult. The human body is the challenge here. Conventional antennas work poorly when placed adjacent to the body, impairing performance. These conventional wearable antennas detune and have narrow bands. They change performance when moistened by sweat, or crinkle and stop working as the body moves.
Fractal antennas, can be the solution to these problems. A fractal antenna is an antenna that uses a fractal, self-similar design to maximize the length, or increase the perimeter (on inside sections or the outer structure), of material that can receive or transmit electromagnetic radiation within a given total surface area or volume. 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 were first used in the US military, where Fractal Antenna Systems (the inventor of fractal antennas) used its patented IP to come up with antenna solutions for critical solutions. Not only has the firm created wearable fractal antennas, its baseline of experience on these garment-oriented antennas 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 over a dozen of independent research groups worldwide, to be a great solution for smart clothing and in many cases the only one.
According to Nathan Cohen, the CEO of Fractal Antenna Systems, this is one of the many cases where the validation and the markets finally caught up with our innovations. 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.