Tuneable antenna does all mobile bands
The company is promoting a complex-shaped antenna design which can have up to 12 poles, something that could be printed as copper traces on a PCB or on the case of a mobile device, which could transmit and receive simultaneously DVB-H, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GSM, GPS, 3G multi-bands and 3.9/4G LTE signals.
Until now, mobile devices have to integrate up to six distinct antennas to work across various frequencies. Combined together, these can cost up to 20 dollars per mobile device, a significant part of the total bill of material.
In contrast, SAT claims to be able to replace all these antennas with one single design costing less than a dollar while reducing footprint dramatically. The unusually shaped antenna does not detune like others, claims the company, while covering the 450MHz to 6GHz communication range.
“The cleverness about it is how the shape is configured depending on customers’ requirements, and how we can configure and tune the antenna thanks to a dedicated companion chip” explained Professor Rick Hillum, CEO and Co-founder of Smart Antenna Technologies in an interview with eeNews Europe.
The findings stem from pure academia initially geared toward military applications. About two years ago, researchers from the University of Birmingham aimed for commercial applications and a 6-pole antenna was then demonstrated to work with prototype tuning circuitry by recently spun out company Smart Antenna Technologies.
Showing an actual implementation of the printed antenna would give too much away, according to Hillum who hopes to be licensing the IP to mobile chip vendors.
Another big claim is that the performance of this adaptable antenna will match that of the separate antennae at their specified frequencies, thanks to a software re-configurable control chip that will accommodate for the preferred shape of the antenna implemented.
“We talked to all the major mobile and tablet manufacturers so that their requirements drive our own specifications” said Hillum, adding “We have a product that is truly tuned to the market we want to address”.
The company expects to convert these engagements into ‘design wins’ for inclusion in future products over the next 12 months.
The new funds will help design the initial chip (the demonstrator was built from-of-the-shelf components together with a custom-printed antenna) and grow the marketing team. SAT hopes to sample its first dedicated chip during the second quarter of this year, with volume silicon possibly available during the 3rd quarter of 2014.
It could take mid-2015 for major handset manufacturers to integrate the technology through IP licensing deals, either for direct integration into their communication chips, or through the integration of an add-on chip.
Visit Smart Antenna Technologies at www.smartantennatech.com