Its hard to imagine life without cell phones, even though it has only been about 20 years since the Federal Communications Commission authorized commercial cellular service in the United States. Despite their popularity, cell phones can be frustrating.
Anyone who uses one has experienced losing a connection (usually in the middle of an important business call) or being out of the service area and unable to use their phone. Often, reception is not clear. And if your antenna should break off, youre really in trouble.
A new antenna technology, dubbed Plastenna, may change all that. Plastenna, a product of Bellingham, Wash.-based Integral Technologies, Inc., is based on the development of a composite material that can be shaped or configured into virtually any form. The conductive polymer recipe was developed by Integral and is blended with resins that are produced by virtually any worldwide resin manufacturer.
The material was invented by Thomas A. Aisenbrey, the chief technology officer/general manager at Integral, by doping micron conductive compounds with base resins such as plastic or rubber, to create a conductive material that can be molded, extruded, or calandered into various shapes.
It can be configured into an antenna as thin as a mere 1 millimeter thick. The antenna is so malleable it can be formed into virtually any 3-D shape or size to become part of the shell or case of any wireless device, from phones, radios or even body parts of vehicles. Manufactured from a conductive resin-based material, this invisible antenna molds like plastic but conducts like metal.
It allows for unlimited 3-D design flexibility, increases signal performance and significantly reduces manufacturing costs. The technology is currently being tested at major cellular service providers and manufacturers as well as mobile computing and satellite companies. In addition to its use in phones, Plastenna can also be used in pagers, radios, global positioning systems, wireless-based networks or any wireless application, according to William S. Robinson, chairman and CEO of Integral Technologies.
The future of the composite antenna design holds virtually unlimited potential as it removes current design constraints in wireless devices imposed by existing antenna designs, says Robinson. For more information, visit www.itkg.net.
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