Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons
ADVERTISEMENT

Waterproof fabric anntena could save people lost at sea

By

October 3, 2011

A life vest incorporating one of the fabric antennas, being tested in Finland

A life vest incorporating one of the fabric antennas, being tested in Finland

Image Gallery (3 images)

A patch about the size of the leather name tab on a pair of jeans could save your life one day - should you be stranded at sea, that is. In a project overseen by the European Space Agency (ESA), researchers from Finnish company Patria and the Tampere University of Technology have created a flexible fabric antenna, that can be sewn into life vests. Once activated, that antenna transmits its coordinates to earth-orbiting satellites, that can immediately relay the location to rescue personnel.

The device utilizes the Cospas-Sarsat worldwide search and rescue satellite system, an international project that has been in use since the Cold War. Cospas-Sarsat incorporates satellite-based receivers, that are continuously listening for emergency radio beacons from transmitters on ships, aircraft or people. When a signal is received, it is relayed to a ground receiving station, followed by a mission control center, and then a rescue coordination center.

When sea trials of the antenna were conducted, its location was attained within a matter of minutes.

Not only is the device flexible, lightweight, and wear- and waterproof, but it is also surprisingly small for an antenna that transmits at such low frequencies. Larger antennas are typically required for these frequencies, which are what Cospas-Sarsat is set up to receive.

Along with the life vest-mounted antenna, the ESA project is also developing one that could be attached to a diving vest. The device could perhaps find its way into the high-tech fisherman's gear being developed through the European Safe@Sea project, which is designed to stop a boat's engine when the fisherman falls overboard, and to inflate upon contact with the water.

Previously, wearable antenna technology has been focused more on military applications

Source: Popular Science

ADVERTISEMENT
About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth
Tags
2 Comments

OK nice antenna but what about the rest of the transmitter?

Slowburn

awesome

Chi Sup
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT