Spray-on antenna gets great reception at Google event

February 14, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Spray-on antenna gets great reception at Google event

(PhysOrg.com) -- A spray-on antenna? The idea is not fantasy but real and tested technology that works. A Utah startup has introduced a spray-on signal booster in a can that promises an improved signal. The company suggests this is a lightweight, easy answer for smartphone users who are frustrated over dropped calls and poor cellphone reception with traditional antennas. The approach can create signal-boosting antennas on nearby walls, trees or clothes. The spray product was unveiled at Google's Solve for X "conference."

The debut has been a standout at this "Solve" gathering of creative minds. In typically future-focused Google talk, the event is called a forum "to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork."

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The company, Chamtech Enterprises, tested the spray on a tree, among other tests, and the team was able to send a VHF signal up to 14 miles away using only the treated tree. Rhett Spencer, of Chamtech, said the company’s spray-on could make cell phones work with 10 percent better efficiency.

This is not just technology for infotainment at a show. The company’s website presents the technology in the form of a “Spray On Antenna Kit” and tells interested parties to call for pricing. The company is promoting it as a multi-purpose antenna, simple and quick to assemble, mountable on almost any surface, for use in any environment. "Any" bears quite a range of possible end uses.

Spray-on antenna gets great reception at Google event

Chamtech has been talking to government customers but they also hope for a wider customer base including mobile phone makers and manufacturers of medical devices. Also, the company is upbeat over successful tests that were run to examine the spray's signal performance underwater. Chamtech promoters say the technology could be used by weather and oceanographic researchers and underwater welders.

The antenna spray in a can is clearly a coup for this company, which is holding several patents on its nanospray on antenna technology. That is not to say the idea of a spray-on antenna on surfaces does not have a history, which it does. According to an article in 2001, "Spray-on Antennas Make Their Mark," researchers were studying materials that could be used to spray on radio antennas onto surfaces--walls, windows or fabric shelters. Their goal was allowing military commanders and relief workers to set up communications networks quickly, in areas where there was minimal infrastructure. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was at the time said to be considering a number of possible applications and techniques for using spray-on antennas.

Chamtech's presentation at the Google-sponsored Solve for X appears to be an impressive answer. Anthony Sutera, the company's CEO, is an entrepreneur specializing in radio, satellite and wireless communications systems. Google's bio notes say he has over 20 years' experience in creating and managing companies competing in the communications market.

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18 comments

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Vendicar_Decarian
2.8 / 5 (6) Feb 14, 2012
Wow. First there was spray on hair.

Now this.

There must really be a Gawd.
ab3a
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
Metallic sprays have been available for decades. They're commonly used as a spray-on shield for plastic enclosures. What these people have done is spray a line on a surface to make it in to an antenna.

Now comes the fun part: Matching the antenna impedance to the transmitter and also handling voltage and current nodes that inevitably result from resonance.

Oh, and another thing: communicating a whole 14 miles on VHF is nothing. I've seen a ham radio enthusiast standing on the beach in Tel Aviv talk to someone else in Malta over 1000 nm away, on the low power setting of his radio, 300 mW. He used a 5/8 wave whip antenna. There are ham radio clubs that offer awards for communicating over 1000 miles per watt. Those awards are given out more often than you might think.
61SD
not rated yet Feb 14, 2012
This has wonderful military applications. Cuts down on weight/size for deployments and would be perfect for quick set-ups. Obviously, they were able to get past the 'fun part' but the real question is how long did it take them to set it up for each of these tests.

I'm sure I would use it on anything/everything I could think of around the house too.
ab3a
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
This has wonderful military applications. Cuts down on weight/size for deployments and would be perfect for quick set-ups.


Uh, how is this any less of a hassle than just carrying the wire or parts for a real antenna? The only thing it *might* be good for is for improvising a dish antenna. Otherwise, issues of current nodes would make such efforts rather pointless.

Remember that we're talking about point to point communications here, with real power, not a cell phone system. The Military can't assume that there will be a working, useful cell phone anywhere near the area of operations.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Feb 14, 2012
The approach can create signal-boosting antennas on nearby walls, trees or clothes.

I can see it now: Perp sprays your back pocket in passing. Later reads out all your magstrips/RFIDs in your wallet.
DispersiveThinking
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King

Rhett forgot to mention the antenna stencil and matching circuit without which there will be no conversion from electromagnetic waves to electric current, i.e. Maxwells Equations. There is no such a thing as "antenna in a can" unless Rhett et al. proved that Maxwell is wrong!

Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
Time to start cutting stencils for fractal antennae ?

http://en.wikiped...antennas

~ for that matter, could it be printed ?
pauljpease
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
I'm sure this stuff is really good for human health and the environment too.
MR166
3 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2012
Ahhh, Snake oil in a spray can. Why didn't I think of that.
DispersiveThinking
not rated yet Feb 14, 2012
>> Time to start cutting stencils for fractal antennae ? for that matter, could it be printed ?

Only if Chamtech "Spray on Antenna" Bottle comes with a CAD interface to print the patterns generated by Electromagnetic modeling software such as HFSS (also used to design fractal antennas).

Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
the approach can create signal-boosting antennas on nearby walls, trees or clothes ... (or nearby standing birds and animals...)..
It's impressively ecological solution, until the density of sprayed paints will not increase up to level, when it would pose a shielding for other antennas.
Graeme
not rated yet Feb 14, 2012
This looks like a joke for April 1, is physorg sure they published this on the right day? Spraying underwater sounds pretty unlikely. Though it would probably work in space or on the moon too!
Fineman
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
Oh, and another thing: communicating a whole 14 miles on VHF is nothing. I've seen a ham radio enthusiast standing on the beach in Tel Aviv talk to someone else in Malta over 1000 nm away, on the low power setting of his radio, 300 mW. He used a 5/8 wave whip antenna. There are ham radio clubs that offer awards for communicating over 1000 miles per watt. Those awards are given out more often than you might think./q]

It's not so special that they communicated 14 miles, it's the fact that they did it USING A TREE for the antenna! Can your ham radio enthusiast standing on the beach do that??

jimbo92107
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
The photo looks like plastic barf.
default_ex
5 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
>> Time to start cutting stencils for fractal antennae ? for that matter, could it be printed ?

Only if Chamtech "Spray on Antenna" Bottle comes with a CAD interface to print the patterns generated by Electromagnetic modeling software such as HFSS (also used to design fractal antennas).



Why would it need to come with a CAD interface? Could easily unload the stuff from it's canister into a black ink cartridge, set the printer for monotone, and print out the antenna patterns that way. If the ink cartridge turns out not to work, wouldn't be that difficult to make your own carriage for the canister after a trip to the local hardware store.

People make printers that melt plastic pellets to print out 3D shapes, and they do this in their own garages at a fraction of the cost of a commercial 3D printer. Never doubt the hacker spirit when it comes to integrating new tech into the workshop.
DispersiveThinking
1 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
Why would it need to come with a CAD interface? Could easily unload the stuff from it's canister into a black ink cartridge, set the printer for monotone, and print out the antenna patterns that way. ....
People make printers that melt plastic pellets to print out 3D shapes, and they do this in their own garages at a fraction of the cost of a commercial 3D printer. Never doubt the hacker spirit when it comes to integrating new tech into the workshop.


How ridiculous, GOOGLE is now asking our military forces not only to carry with them 3D printers to the battle field but also become expert in designing antennas on the spot in order to print them on trees. They are better off using plug-and-play balanced antennas or unbalanced antennas with smaller footprint. GOOGLE has to recognize that there is a difference between "Solving for X" and hyping a technology that just doesn't work as stated.
Alf_Friman
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
Iphone 3GS antenna have about 65% antenna efficiency => Feed it with one watt and it radiates 0.65 Watt. Chamtech improved this result with 20 dB (x100).
So with one Watt input they got the Iphone to radiate 65 Watt.
A nice perpetual machine in nano-scale.
Let some of this radiated power automatic recharge the phone and it will never more need a wall-charger. That spray will forever change cellphone industry more then what Iphone did,
Aliensarethere
not rated yet Feb 16, 2012
It's a scam, according to danish professor Gert Frølund Pedersen at Aalborg University.
Link, danish text:
http://ing.dk/art...rent-fup

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