New Stretchable Antenna Developed for Medical Use
Many people would like to see a future with advanced sensors built into clothing, with the sole purposes and monitoring someone's vital signs. Such technology could be used to monitor a patient and even assist in diagnosing. Researchers at North Carolina State University have recently developed a new stretchable antenna for those sensors, which should be able to survive the abuse such a sensor will take.
As many groups are working on wearable sensors, many are also working on stretchable antennas. What helps set the North Carolina researchers' antenna apart is that its simple construction could allow it to be integrated directly into the sensors. The antenna itself is made by applying silver nanowires to a stencil, and that then is coated with a polymer. Once the polymer has set, the nanowires will be embedded in the desired antenna pattern, and while straining the polymer will deform the antenna, relieving the stress will allow it to return to its original shape. Such deformation does affect the frequency the antenna puts out, but not enough to disrupt communication.
With this antenna's resilience, it could bring wearable electronics and sensors closer to reality, especially as it can be built into the sensor and is easy to scale up.
Source: North Carolina State University