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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K011383/1
Title: 3-Dimensional Wearable Patch Antennas with Improved Bandwidth and Efficiency for Athlete, Patient, Firefighter and Soldier Applications
Principal Investigator: Whittow, Professor WG
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
adidas Group (UK) Antrum Ltd BAE Systems
Engineered Fibre Structures Ltd English Institute of Sport FlamePro (UK) Limited
HITEK Electronic Materials Ltd Optimal Performance Ltd
Department: Electronic, Electrical & Systems Enginee
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 May 2013 Ends: 31 July 2015 Value (£): 99,290
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Sports and Recreation
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
04 Sep 2012 EPSRC ICT Responsive Mode - Sep 2012 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We live in a wireless world where we demand the ability to communicate wherever we are. This level of convenience can only be achieved by replacing wires with antennas capable of reliably transmitting signals through the air. To continue to meet this demand for wireless, discrete and robust communication systems, designers and commercial pioneers are conceptualising new applications that will integrate antennas into clothing. These concepts are of particular benefit for certain groups who have specific requirements for communication systems including the emergency services, military, elite athletes, patients and fashion innovators. Realising these concepts will expand an exciting new manufacturing sector tying together innovative textiles and advanced electronics manufacturing.

This research has the potential to transform modern communications. Communication devices that are integrated into clothing will be light, immediately accessible, easy to use, robust and impossible to leave behind. In safety critical scenarios, such as search and rescue or battlefield situations, the risk of communication breakdown between protagonists is reduced and the ability to locate people at risk is greatly increased. In less immediately critical scenarios, such as long term care of dementia patients, integrated antennas can be used to track patients should they wander away from the safety of their own home environments. Similarly, sufferers of chronic diseases such as heart disease could conceivably wear transmitting monitoring devices in their home environments to apprise their supervising physicians of their ongoing condition.

Currently, wearable antennas are not commonly found in mainstream markets due to concerns around user comfort; antenna efficiency; the antenna detuning when in proximity to the human body and risks around the absorption of electromagnetic energy into the body. This project addresses these concerns by reducing antenna volume or improving the bandwidth and/or the communication range and will lead towards making the practical integration of fabric antennas a viable commercial reality.

Typically, reducing antenna size can compromise electromagnetic performance (range and bandwidth). This also applies when reducing the height of planar antennas. Convention has decreed that patch antennas are planar; however, the electric fields underneath an antenna are not uniform. The hypothesis of this project is that increasing the height of the antenna in certain locations will particularly benefit antenna performance. Therefore, an optimised 3-D antenna can be designed to maximise the bandwidth and efficiency to volume ratio.

This research project will improve the electromagnetic performance of wearable antennas using optimised 3-D structures in conjunction with high performance materials. A strong consortium of commercial Project Partners ensures the work has impact for UK manufacturing from the outset and that the benefits to the military, sporting and health sectors can be realised.

Loughborough University is home to two of the UK's leading groups in antennas and electromagnetics and enjoys an international reputation for excellence in sports and sports technology. Dr. Whittow, who has more than ten years of experience in antenna design and electromagnetic interactions with the human body, will manage this 21 month project.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk