Star Trek cosplayers take note: soon you may be able to have your own, functional communicator thanks to Patria Aviation Oy. The Finnish company has been developing flexible fabric antennas which, when tapped, link up with the Iridium satellite phone network; two-way voice and data communication is supported, while there’s also a GPS chip to report physical location.
Patria Aviation Oy envisage the system being used by the military, who will appreciate its light-weight, low cost and generally robust build. Since the antenna can be integrated into clothing, it’s also discrete; now the firm is working on maximising performance from different shapes of patch, together with looking at manufacturing tolerances.
It seems unlikely that these systems will end up in consumer clothing any time soon, but if Patria Aviation Oy can develop a reliable and low-cost fabric antenna for regular cellphone signals then they could feasibly integrate it into a rucksack or bag. That might prove an irresistible draw for mobile users suffering poor voice or data reception.