Smart Textiles For Wearable Communicators

Smart textiles are being used to embed electronics for communications in ordinary clothing. If it works, it could lead to covert telecommunications and better reception. “You won’t have to hold your cellphone to your ear,” said Dr. Volakis, an electrical engineer. “We’ll eliminate all that. It will be part of your attire.”

(Smart Textiles For Wearable Communicators)

Though it will take at least a year for Dr. Volakis and his team to develop antenna clothing for civilians, his lab built antennas into a United States Army bulletproof vest last summer.

The vest, with a square antenna panel embedded in the front and three in the back, is like “having more sets of eyes or ears,” said Chi-Chih Chen, the electrical engineer who led the team that developed it.

“This is where a body-wearable antenna will shine,” said Steve Goodall, chief of antenna technology and analysis for the Army’s office of communications and electronics research, development and engineering. “You can flare the antennas out to cover a larger area,” turning a single one-dimensional rod into multiple two-dimensional panels.

SF fans may recall the sleeve communicator from Murray Leinster's 1945 classic First Contact:

"That," said the skipper savagely, "is just what's happening now. There's something like a locator beam on us...

He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped:

"Action stations! Man all weapons! Condition of extreme alert in all departments immediately!"

Via New York Times.

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