The European Space Agency‘s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) 5 project ‘Textile Antennas’ has led the Finnish Patria Aviation Oy company to demonstrate that antennae can be built from wearable textiles and installed on normal clothing.
Creating textile antennae, a company has to overcome a number of different problems. The antennae must conform to certain reception standards even when bent or in motion. Anything attached to clothing must be able to survive normal events in the life of a garment – stitching, washing and ironing amongst other things.
The antenna has been used to make phone calls between ESA institutes and demonstrates that the technology is feasible enough to be continued with. We’re not quite at the stage where so called wearable computers are given wifi capability, but we’re on the road.