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Antenna-Clothing Outperforms Regular Antennas

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the why-there-are-parkas dept.

Communications 70

Zothecula writes with a snippet from Gizmag: "In the recent past, we've seen outfits that incorporate bio-sensors and batteries, and even a bikini with integrated solar cells. One of the latest innovations in smart fabrics, however, allows a person's clothing to act as multiple antennas. Developed at Ohio State University, the system could prove particularly useful to soldiers, who don't want to be encumbered by a protruding whip antenna."

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70 comments

Dare ya (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234422)

I dare you to try to board an airplane while wearing one.

Re:Dare ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37234520)

> I dare you to try to board an airplane while wearing one.

No thanks.. I don't want to be whipped by antennas...

Re:Dare ya (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234674)

Chainmail. It's back in vogue. Didn't you know? TSA is clueless, so don't ever expect them to know anything anyhow.

Re:Dare ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37243966)

This [youtube.com] somehow seems appropriate.

Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37234512)

the system could prove particularly useful to soldiers, who don't want to be encumbered by a protruding whip antenna.

Well, that should simplify homing devices a bit. Or at least make it easy to count soldiers on the ground.

metal lined clothing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37234560)

Because conductive metal lined (or permeated) clothing is what you want to be wearing while in combat. morons.

Clarification (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37234608)

When the summary refers to a whip antenna, it means a ducky antenna on a handheld radio, as worn on a belt like police tend to do, not the large old style military whip/backpack thing I pictured first, nor do they compare it to a handheld radio held at face level (used without shoulder mic). So, although it makes an improvement over usual law enforcement radio, its not an astonishing discovery by any means, as similar gains can be made by holding the handheld in a usual talking position.

For those with IEEE access:
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.proxy.lib.clemson.edu/search/srchabstract.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5783293

Re:Clarification (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234888)

Stubby helical aerials on radios work pretty badly, and they just plain don't work at all when you've got a stubby on a handheld that's clipped to your belt.

I wonder how poor performance will be when the aerial is pressed up against a big wet conductive thing?

Re:Clarification (2, Informative)

NouberNou (1105915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234954)

Actually no, they still use VHF whip antennas quite often in the US military. The SINCGARS frequency hopping system is in the 30 to 87.975MHz range and the ideal antenna length for this range is in the 1 to 2 meter area. Luckily these whips can be folded down and do not actually take up much space when traveling, but of course that inhibits their gain quite a bit.

Even the UHF band that most military coms occurs on has a roughly 13" ideal antenna length. SATURN and HAVE QUICK I/II are in the UHF band only up to 512Mhz.

Re:Clarification (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234994)

5 meter and 6 meter communications is still very common in military. It's a band that is highly effective for longer range ground communication without the use of satellites or repeaters.

Re:Clarification (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37236272)

Not only that, but it looks like what they're really doing is comparing 4-fold diversity at the receiver to a single conventional receive antenna. That's not a balanced comparison from the communications standpoint. Obviously it could make multiple receive antennas at low RF frequencies more practical though.

Recieving or transmitting? (0)

ukemike (956477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234718)

I hope they are talking about receiving antennas. I'm pretty sure I don't want a emf generating jockey shorts. But maybe one sewn onto a backpack wouldn't be so bad. Better than carrying a cell phone in my pocket.

Re:Recieving or transmitting? (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235888)

You do know there's a large difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation right? This stuff is on the wrong side of the spectrum to be causing you such problems.

The absolute worst you might get is some heat from absorption.

Re:Recieving or transmitting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37236208)

Sunlight, which is non-ionizing, causes skin cancer.

Re:Recieving or transmitting? (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37236326)

yea. The ultraviolet component. You know what ultraviolet is right? It's the electromagnetic band adjacent to the visible light band - specifically the higher frequency edge. Which just happens to be the lower limit for being harmful it seems!

Meaning, again, that radio waves are on the wrong side of the spectrum.

Re:Recieving or transmitting? (1)

scheme (19778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37238782)

You do know there's a large difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation right? This stuff is on the wrong side of the spectrum to be causing you such problems.

The absolute worst you might get is some heat from absorption.

You know that just because the radiation doesn't cause damage to the DNA doesn't mean that it won't negatively influence cell growth and division right? Magnetic fields have been shown to influence cell division and growth rates and although the current studies used relatively high magnetic fields, smaller fields or other EM radiation may also have effects on cell growth and health.

Re:Recieving or transmitting? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37240700)

My point here is that simple sunlight or heat from... say your household heater is more energetic than a typical handheld radio? You don't seem to grasp the fact that light (including radiated heat) and radio is the same damn thing, except the radio is less energetic!

Safety? (0)

kandresen (712861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234728)

We have already been told keeping the antenna close to the ears for long hours can provoke cancer etc. Now getting multiple antennas essentially as close as it is possible to get without an implant. How will this change the cancer statistics etc. in the next few years?

Has safety been considered at all?

Re:Safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37235190)

Safety is irrevelant when profit and new technology to sell is the subject.

Until it kills some people and causes bad press. Then they might look into safety. If we make them do it.

Re:Safety? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235440)

Well, with any luck the soldiers will die from lead poisoning before the cancer could set in. Let's hope for the best...

Sorry, I sometimes get overridden by my past life as an arms contractor.

Re:Safety? (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235304)

no one respectable has said that for decades

31 WTO scientists in may 2011... not that long ago (0)

kandresen (712861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235634)

It is hardly 4 months since a panel of 31 scientist came to the conclusion that cell phone radiation increases the risk for cancer:
http://www.cbloomnews.com/TopNews.aspx?Article_id=85332&Cat=5 [cbloomnews.com]
http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/index.html [cnn.com]
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/229054/cell_phones_may_cause_cancer_says_the_who_what_to_do.html [pcworld.com]

What news are you reading to say "no one respectable has said that for decades"???

Re:31 WTO scientists in may 2011... not that long (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235892)

I think you've failed to take duty cycle into account. Such a radio wouldn't be active nearly as often as a typical cellphone (there's no tower to check into every couple of seconds etc)

Re:31 WTO scientists in may 2011... not that long (2)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235940)

It is hardly 4 months since a panel of 31 scientist came to the conclusion that cell phone radiation increases the risk for cancer:
http://www.cbloomnews.com/TopNews.aspx?Article_id=85332&Cat=5 [cbloomnews.com]
http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/index.html [cnn.com]
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/229054/cell_phones_may_cause_cancer_says_the_who_what_to_do.html [pcworld.com]

What news are you reading to say "no one respectable has said that for decades"???

They put RF in the same risk category as coffee. They didn't do any of their own research, just reviewed existing research.
You can review the same existing research here and come to your own conclusions, just like they did:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cellphones [cancer.gov]

Re:Safety? (1)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235658)

This news just in... A tragedy today at Fort Bragg where an entire platoon was wiped out by a single lightening bolt. One witness commented, sobbing, "It just fried 'em in mid-step!"

Expensive Fatigues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37234734)

At $200 a pop I would hate to be the private that has to purchase a uniform full of those.

Re:Expensive Fatigues (2)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234860)

Sounds about right in the price department.

Anyways enlisted men/women only have to pay for their own gear if they loose what they were issued.

Re:Expensive Fatigues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37238260)

What if they just buy a belt and tighten it up?

A bikini with integrated solar cells? (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234740)

That has the potential to be shocking.

Re:A bikini with integrated solar cells? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234886)

Just wait for the sunglasses, they'll be eye-popping.

Re:A bikini with integrated solar cells? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235460)

Yeah, but that G-String is a pain in the ass.

Next time they should buy them at some clothing shop and not the music store.

Solar Powered Boob-Cooler... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234770)

...now THERE's a novel idea!

Remember the Solar Powered Propeller hat?

Picture this:

Two boo...err...one bikini, solar powered of course, with two propellers...

Nuff said!

Joke (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37234792)

Two antennae met on a roof, fell in love and decided to get married.
The ceremony wasn't much but the reception was excellent!

How can it possibly perform well? (3, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#37234814)

Putting a bag of salt water in the near field of an antenna would be expected to increase losses and detune it.

Re:How can it possibly perform well? (1)

kd8our (1996830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235200)

shhh don't let 'em know some of us like to play with this stuff. makes it more fun. yea i really don't see how this would be efficient. it would be a very lossy. you don't always need a whip exposed either. a resonant antenna could be concealed depending on the band in use. not to difficult about 70cm. a length of resonant wire would more than likely out preform this "antenna suit" unless that is all the suit is, a resonant length of wire inside the suit. this also ignores the effects of ground and as pointed out the large bag of salt water that the antenna sits on. i guess your body could be the ground plane.

Re:How can it possibly perform well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37235518)

I'm assuming those bags of water stop the radio signals? If so, I wonder how bags of water with DNA would fare.

You can say whatever you want, point me to any study about radiation caused by phones, TVs etc, they're not harmless, just because they don't cause cancer in the next few months, that doesn't mean their emissions don't damage your DNA and cause other problems later, for your or your children you might have after. So, no, wrapping yourself in a antenna does not seem such a good idea.
 

Re:How can it possibly perform well? (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235902)

They quite simply do not have the energy to knock electrons loose, which is exactly what is required to cause the problems you mention. You realize infrared and visual light have more energy than radio?

The only thing they can do is be absorbed and converted to thermal energy... and to reach a hazardous level you'd needs quite a few watts of power, and the only thing you'll get for it is a skin-deep burn no different than any other burn.

Re:How can it possibly perform well? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37240922)

You can say whatever you want, point me to any study about radiation caused by phones, TVs etc, they're not harmless, just because they don't cause cancer in the next few months, that doesn't mean their emissions don't damage your DNA and cause other problems later, for your or your children you might have after. So, no, wrapping yourself in a antenna does not seem such a good idea.

So, you don't care about the science, you're just sure it causes damage to your dna. Gotcha.

Next topic... Magnets! How do they work?!

Re:How can it possibly perform well? (1)

Mr_Perl (142164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37235738)

Actually salt water can provide a far better return path for rf energy than air, so depending on the frequency (I'm assuming super high) of the signal, it could be pretty good.

Not sure how I'd feel about my ugly bag of mostly water being a return path for high frequency radio though.

It has more antennas (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37236722)

It performs better because it has a whole bunch of antennas all over their body and can select the one that has the best performance at any given moment. Being able to choose one in the best spot is sometimes better than having a single efficient antenna. Of course, strapping 50 whip antennas to yourself would perform better than either a single whip or the antennasuit alone. Just don't try to move through bushes or interact with humans.

Re:How can it possibly perform well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37246112)

If I had access to it, I'd read the paper and try to explain, but I don't. The abstract says that they've tested these on body, though. The research advisor on this paper is John Volakis, and he's quite well known (for good reasons) in the field of antennas. I'd be very surprised if he let a sloppy paper with his name on it be published.

as Marconi once said... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37235036)

"That RF is funny stuff."

OK but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37235044)

does it outperform regular clothes?

The most interesting part of this story (2)

Hell O'World (88678) | more than 2 years ago | (#37236140)

* Googles "bikini with integrated solar cells" *

Re:The most interesting part of this story (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37244388)

Looking at those things brings all kinds of weirdness to mind... "Can I jack in to your bikini to charge my iPod?"

-l

antenna (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37236262)

Would this be something that could improve cell phone reception?

really, antenna's work better with human contact? (2)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37236702)

I think anyone who's had a TV that used rabbit ears and you had a channel or 2 that always seem to come in better when your touching the antenna's won't be surprised that clothes with antenna's built in would work better then normal antenna's.

Re:really, antenna's work better with human contac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37239218)

My own grammar may not be up to par, but Bob would like a word with you about your atrocious use of apostrophes [angryflower.com]. As I once read elsewhere on the 'net, "An apostrophe is NOT a warning that a word ends in 's'". Since you love using apostrophes on plural words, why didn't you also add one each to "ears" and "clothes"?

Furthermore, you're wrong if you think "your" is used correctly in that post, which is almost worse than your use of "then". Don't get me started on your apparent fear of the comma.

Lord, what has Slashdot come to?

Re:really, antenna's work better with human contac (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37243114)

That would be 'no child left behind' or alternatively, 'pass 'em even if they're stupid'.

Re:really, antenna's work better with human contac (1)

xded (1046894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37240618)

It's just a matter of tuning... If you happen to have a channel that is received better when you're close or touching the antenna, try shortening a bit the dipole and then move away. Shortening the antenna makes it slightly capacitive, almost the same effect your body has on it.

There is something weird..... (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37237010)

about having clothing designed with the idea that it is for our troops, but being done by Chinese. I mean how many Americans are over in China designing military equipment and will bring it back here? None.

The (Bataan Death) march of progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37238900)

Over the past decade or so, I've seen speculation about military uniforms that would incorporate silver threads as a natural antiseptic/deodorant, those woven of a smart mesh that would transmit biomedical information to medical teams, ones incorporating non-Newtonian fluids that become rigid on impact for ballistic protection, some incorporating heating and cooling systems, and several others. Add this in, and tomorrow's soldier will go into combat wearing the equivalent of five layers of shag carpeting.

What about the durability? (1)

rice_crust (1165061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37240430)

Soldiers in the field do a lot of harsh and demanding things to their equipment, like crawling through swamps, and jumping out of airplanes, so will this tech be strong enough to endure such conditions?

Wearable antenna? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37241848)

Is that a high-gain tranceiver in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?

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