School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

EECS Academic awarded funding for new research project into the development of adaptable and efficient wearable antenna

Dr Akram Alomainy, Reader in Antennas and Applied EM at the Antennas & EM research Group in EECS and Postgraduate Senior Tutor, has recently been awarded £55,000 of funding by Huawei Sweden. He will also be working with Dr Oammer H Abbasi (University of Glasgow) on some aspects of the project.

Published:

The project will explore and demonstrate significant contributions in terms of intelligent and environment-based antenna performance enhancement. It will explore additive manufacturing techniques represented by inkjet printing applying various nano-particles enhanced conductive inks keeping in mind cost-effectiveness, flexibility and efficiency.

This will enhance robustness to extreme conformity condition to the handset and human body and bring simplicity to the integration of handset/wearable antennas with garments, objects and existing solutions. The proposed research certainly raises several fundamental design challenges far from trivial, that have their roots in diverse disciplines, including antenna and EM engineering, RF and microwave devices development, material processing associated with fabrication of unconventional structures, information exchange and networking concepts, and pervasive computing.

The key objective of this research is to reduce the gap between the theoretical prospects of millimetre-wave (mm-wave) based handset/wearable devices and successful realisation and implementation at the user end. Therefore, we aim to design compact mm-wave flexible antenna solutions enable adaptive control of frequency selection and beam steering to configure the shortest point-to-point route and to locate the direction of the receiver ensuring the highest possible link quality. We aim to print such structures on low-cost films that are widely available, and inkjet printing by using a variety of nanoparticles-enhanced conductive inks is expected to provide the desired level of fabrication with the advantages of fast and precise manufacturing and prototyping.

The project outcomes are anticipated to bring a significant impact on the design of the next-generation handset and user-specific devices and units. In the medium term, the development made in the project will be applicable at the user-end in the different domain including healthcare, tracking and sensing. The development and realisation of highly adaptable and efficient wearable antenna solutions at the end of this research project will contribute significantly in reducing the cost and complexity of handset and body-centric devices and applications and will be considered as a milestone in the advancement of smart connected wireless systems. The uses of smart-RF devices are not just limited to above-mentioned applications but well-being and safety of lone workers such as postmen and council workers and for security and tracking applications in civil and military sectors. 

Dr Alomainy said:

“It is exciting and encouraging to have a large industry such as Huawei interested in applying and adopting our novel and original research ideas to realise next-generation handsets and devices not only for 5G communication but beyond. To be able to translate blue sky research ideas into reality is a great milestone for researchers especially when the impact can be extended globally and to many application areas."