We present a new class of reconfigurable origami-based antennas formed by embroidered conductive E-threads. State-of-the-art techniques used to realize origami antennas employ fragile conductive inks and/or copper tape. By contrast, the proposed approach brings forward enhanced robustness and durability as attributed to the inherent strength of the E-threads. To facilitate folding along the creases while also providing the radio frequency (RF) performance close to that of copper, a graded embroidery process is proposed. The grading scheme uses a density of 7 E-threads/mm on the antenna and a reduced density around the creases (as few as 1 E-thread/mm in this study). Proof-of-concept results for an accordion-based dipole antenna tunable from 760 to 1015 MHz show excellent agreement between simulations and measurements for all E-textile prototypes and the copper equivalent. Notably, embroidery density at the creases can be reduced to as low as 1 E-thread/mm without apparent degradation in the RF performance. Overall, the E-textile origami antennas may transform opportunities for reconfigurable antennas to be leveraged in wearable and structural applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering