Spray-on Antennas Establish Radio Communications Anywhere

February 15, 2012 | 05:03
A tree-antenna, a duct tape-antenna or an entire wall turned into a transmitting device. The nano spray-on antenna technology of Chamtech Enterprises can turn any surface into a wireless connectivity device. Transmitting a signal twice as far as a standard antenna or at half the power.

Anthony Sutera, CEO of Chamtech, presented his invention at Solve For X, a forum recently launched by Google encouraging people to come up with radical solutions backed by breakthrough technology to solve problems that affect the world [video below]. The challenge Sutera is tackling is to get a wireless signal anywhere.

Sutera explains that antenna technology hasn’t changed that much since Tesla and Marconi used a copper wire to transmit radio signals. But this technology isn’t very efficient because not all electricity is converted into radio waves, some of it is lost as heat. To boost the signal you need to apply more power.

Chamtech is leaving all this behind and gearing up for a paradigm shift in antenna technology.

The company developed a material consisting of thousands and thousands of nanocapacitors. When it is sprayed on a surface the capacitors form a pattern which allows the signal to flow. The capacitors charge and discharge extremely quickly without any heat loss. The signal hops from capacitor to capacitor until it reaches the surface and is launched into space.

As an experiment the material was sprayed onto a tree and used to transmit a signal. Not only did they create the first tree-antenna it also worked an order of a magnitude better than a standard antenna.

Then they stuck an antenna-sprayed piece of duct tape to an airplane and established a microwave data link with the vehicle 14 miles overhead.

The low power spray-on antenna can aid in getting wireless access anywhere. By boosting signals in cities where buildings block reception and by playing a part in mesh networks to connect remote areas.

Photo: fmdx.au.com
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