Transparent epidermal antenna for unobtrusive human-centric Internet of Things applications

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Simorangkir, Roy B. V. B.
Gawade, Dinesh R.
Hannon, Tim
Donovan, Paul
Kumar, Sanjeev
Rather, Nadeem
Moloudian, Gholamhosein
O’Flynn, Brendan
Buckley, John L.
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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
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The concept of optical transparency in antennas for epidermal electronics is demonstrated in this work as a means of improving the long-term comfort-of-wear level and possibly opening up a wider range of applications. In contrast to previous attempts, the epidermal antenna transparency is achieved by employing dielectric and conductive materials that are both transparent and flexible (i.e., polydimethylsiloxane-transparent conductive textile composite) via a non-clean room procedure that is relatively simpler and less expensive. To demonstrate the concept, a modified rectangular loop epidermal antenna for an arm-worn wireless sensing system operating at 868 MHz Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band is designed. Through a systematic numerical investigation, an interesting radiation response of the loop epidermal antenna as the result of two opposing mechanisms of radiation and loss is revealed, which dictates a specific design guideline for the loop when attached to the body compared to that in free space. Two antenna prototypes were fabricated with the developed transparent composite and its non-transparent counterpart. Then, comprehensive characterizations comparing both epidermal antenna prototypes were carried out, including antenna return loss and far-field tests on a human forearm phantom, and indoor wireless connectivity tests using a human test subject. By showing similar performance between the two prototypes, the study provides a convincing demonstration of the applicability of the developed transparent composite for the class of epidermal antenna and the capability of a transparent antenna to enable wireless connectivity in the context of epidermal electronics.
Conductive textile , Epidermal antenna , Flexible antenna , Internet of Things (IoT) , Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) , Transparent antenna , Unobtrusive , Wearable antenna
Simorangkir, R. B. V. B., Gawade, D. R., Hannon, T., Donovan, P., Kumar, S., Rather, N., Moloudian, G., O’Flynn, B. and Buckley, J. L. (2023) 'Transparent epidermal antenna for unobtrusive human-centric Internet of Things applications', IEEE Internet of Things Journal. doi: 10.1109/JIOT.2023.3288994