Antenna-Based Personal Communicator Realises My Fantasies

My second biggest Star Trek fantasy? Being able to tap a badge to communicate. Silly, but not to a Finnish company who is improving on Star Trek design and my fantasies with flexible, fabric communicators toting built-in GPS to boot.

Over the last year and a half, Patria Aviation Oy has worked on developing a flexible-yet-durable, functional-yet-adaptable antenna. The best part? Based on a successful call to the "Netherlands from their headquarters in Finland by using the prototype antenna," they've succeeded.

How do they work? Apparently the flexible antennas connect "to Iridium satellites (whose low-altitude operations do not require large antennas)" for outgoing calls. As it stands, they can't take incoming calls. This leaves me a bit baffled, since if I'd only want to call people with other patch communicators, if I had one. Also a bit confusing is exactly where the actual phone and GPS portion of this device is kept (the patch is only the antenna, after all).

Aside from those oddities, these flexible antennas sound fantastic: They're supposedly able to "maintain a strong radio signal, even when the patch is bent vertically, horizontally or diagonally" and "send location information to a remote user" (great because a device in your pocket might have trouble sending a GPS signal). All that seems to be missing is the option to get beamed up.

And in case you're wondering: no, I won't share my number one Star Trek fantasy (though you're free to guess). [Network World via Slashdot via PopSci]

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