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14 December 2010 | PR 10/187

Ground breaking fabric antenna set to be developed at Loughborough University

Loughborough University is leading a three-year collaborative project with Nottingham Trent University to develop a new type of antenna that can overcome problems currently encountered by the military, search and rescue teams and the emergency services.

The groundbreaking project aims to produce a fabric antenna and associated electronics, which could be integrated into a wearer’s uniform. Traditional monopole antennas are bulky, heavy and prone to breaking. They can also attract unwanted attention during covert and security operations. This new design would be small and lightweight, flexible and weather resistant.

Professor Yiannis Vardaxoglou from Loughborough University is leading the project. “We are aiming to produce a viable demonstrator with our prototype fabric antenna which can be integrated into clothing. Initially, the team will be focussing on the radio communications applications ensuring the antenna can be manufactured in a cost effective way.

“We hope to integrate it into uniforms perhaps as part of an emblem or logo, and it will need to be capable of operating at megahertz frequencies.”

Nottingham Trent University will be contributing specialist knowledge of textile materials properties, performance and design under the leadership of Professor Tilak Dias.

Professor Dias, who is based within Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art and Design, said: “The knowledge created within this project will advance and accelerate the developments in electronically active and smart textiles.”

As part of the research the two universities will be accessing the expertise of several industrial partners who are interested in the manufacturing and commercial potential of this technology. Antrum Ltd, experts in the commercialisation of wireless communications research, will be exploring new applications and market technology. Hi-tech company Advanced Therapeutic Materials will be providing further advice on innovative fabrics, including conductive yarns and Defence Marine Systems Ltd will be providing insights into applications in defence and search and rescue sector.

The £400,000 project is being funded by a grant from the Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre (IeMRC).

Over the next three years the project team would welcome additional input from companies or individuals who are keen to explore new applications or markets for this technology or from others currently working in this field who wish to explore collaboration opportunities.

For further details please contact Professor Vardaxoglou on 01509 227001 or email J.C.Vardaxoglou@lboro.ac.uk

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Debbie Hughes
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: D.L.Hughes@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. The Wireless Communication Research Group at Loughborough University has research interests in all aspects of modern communication systems and the processing to support them. The Group has strong industrial links and is supported by state-of-the-art test and measurement facilities.

  2. At Nottingham Trent University, Professor Tilak Dias leads the Centre for Research in Advanced Textiles (CReATe).  CReATe brings together research relating to fibre materials in a range of manifestations, from the development of electro-active materials with advanced functionality to work relating to the history of Nottingham’s textile heritage. Drawing on the whole range of skills, knowledge and expertise available in the School of Art and Design, its cross-disciplinary capability means it can research problems that would otherwise be intractable and understand complex phenomena that are fundamental to textiles and their applications in fashion, art, craft, medicine and smart materials.

  3. About IeMRC
    The IeMRC is one of 16 Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres set up and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) focussing on the manufacturing sector. The vision of IeMRC is to be the UK’s internationally recognised provider of world-class electronics manufacturing research. It focuses on sustaining and growing high value manufacturing in the UK by delivering innovative and exploitable new technologies through its highly skilled people and by providing strategic value to the electronics industry.

  4. About Advanced Therapeutic Materials Ltd
    ATM are a hi-tech SME, based in the West Midlands specialising in innovative fabrics including conductive yarn. ATM are related to the global company CASH’s which specialises in woven and printed labels, woven barcodes, tagging and other specialist identification and security products.

  5. About Antrum Ltd
    The company was established in 2001 as a commercial vehicle to exploit the expertise and intellectual property in wireless communications primarily at Loughborough University. Antrum has a track record in this activity and will be providing commercial support to the project.

  6. About Defence Marine Systems Ltd
    DMS is a specialist business with unique experience and contacts in the 406 MHz beacon manufacturing community. DMS have great expertise in the development and manufacture of life saving Locator Beacons. DMS is a direct contractor with the UK Ministry of Defence.They are engaged with manufacturers producing personal locator beacons emergency location transmitters and submarine locator bacons. For further information about DMS visit www.defms.com

  7. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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