Wearable wireless devices are rapidly growing in popularity, owing to their capabilities in medical monitoring and healthcare as they are used on current 4G wireless communications networks. This popularity should only increase when wearable wireless devices are designed for the higher data rates of 5G wireless communications networks can exchange larger amounts of data at faster rates. To better understand the potential for wearable devices functioning on 5G wireless communications networks, researchers from the Universiti Malaysia and the Telecommunications and Microwave Research Div., Dept. of Electrical Engineering, KU Leuven, Belgium explored available antenna topologies for wearable wireless devices. They also examined the current state of fabrics, adhesives, and other materials that could be used in the construction of next-generation wearable wireless devices.
Advanced production techniques will play important roles in the creation of new, practical wearable wireless devices, with such techniques as stitching and sewing to form antennas in wearable wireless devices using conductive threads. Conductive and screen printing provides a simpler, less expensive means of forming antenna on fabrics using conductive inks. The researchers evaluated different types of antennas, such as patches, rings, meander lines, slots, planar monopoles and dipoles, and planar inverted-F antennas, in addition to how each antenna configuration performed in textile form when operating at specific wireless bands of interest (such as 2.45 and 5 GHz). Attention was also paid to higher-frequency wearable antennas for 5G millimeter-wave applications, including dual-band designs for 28 and 38 GHz.
See “Revolutionizing Wearables for 5G,” IEEE Microwave Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 3, May 2017, p. 108.