Antenna technology is constantly improving to match our mobile demands. But, presently, the different antennas on our mobile and laptop devices aren’t compatible with one another, which is a problem when we have so many and more on the way. A typical device will have six separate antennas – GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2G, 3G, 4G and soon many of us will be utilising the latest 5G technology – so this is a growing issue.
To tackle the problem of this interference Bath SETsquared member Smart Antenna Technologies (SAT) has embarked on the challenge to create the world’s first multi-functioning antenna; and it’s going rather well.
“This new investment will allow SAT to bring our antenna technology to the global market”
The team have now bagged an investment of £1 million from the University of Birmingham, where Sampson Hu, CEO of SAT, studied. The funding is a part of a £5 million Spinout Investment Reserve formed to aid commercial applications that arose thanks to the University’s research.
The investment is huge news to SAT. Sampson (pictured left) tells us they will use the money to: “continue to work on our technology. One of the most exciting elements of working in technology is that the landscape is constantly changing and we have to continue to adapt to remain relevant.”
SAT also hopes to take on board even more talented employees. The company has grown from 3 to over 20 members of staff in just 3 years and this investment will help it to continue with this expansion.
Sampson also explains, “We are well advanced in our discussions with a number of world-leading computer companies about integrating our antenna into their laptops and this new investment will allow SAT to bring our technology to the global market.”
We caught up with Sampson to find out what inspired him to take on such a task. “While completing my PhD at the University of Birmingham, I was constantly hearing my colleagues ask why their mobile phones do not support 4G LTE in multi-countries,” says Sampson. “Because antenna design in such a small device is not an easy task. It seemed such an obvious problem to solve and I set about doing it.”
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He adds, “Add in that devices are becoming smaller and smaller and you have a really challenging technical problem.
“SETsquared has access to some of the best technical expertise in the world”
“It’s been a hard slog and we couldn’t have arrived where we are without the tremendous effort of our fantastic engineers in Bath and Birmingham.”
SAT is doing crucial work for the progression of communication. A multi-functioning antenna means we don’t have to hold back on building more types of antennas and eliminates the fear that they will not be able to operate in harmony.
Sampson explains, “With the development of the Internet of Things, this means more devices, from your car through to your home appliances, are going to need more antennas. At SAT, our technology makes sure they work.”
It will also give your smartphone a new lease of life with predictions that more efficient antennas could boost battery life up to 10%!
Connecting the world from Bath
The SETsquared business incubator in Bath is home to many successful tech startups and SAT appreciates the opportunities that arise from being a part of such a vibrant community. Sampson comments, “SETsquared is a world class organisation and we are privileged to be located at your site in Bath. SETsquared has access to some of the best technical expertise in the world and at SAT we have made good use of this expertise in our technical development.”
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