Printed GNSS and Bluetooth Antennas Embedded on Flexible Low Loss Substrates for Wearable Applications
This paper presents Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) F-type and Bluetooth (BT) L-shaped antennas printed on flexible low loss substrate materials for smartwatch applications. The proposed printed antennas were designed along with the wristband of a smartwatch device with the main purpose of improving their electrical performance by using a new low loss polymer material and locating the antenna on the wrist strap. The antenna performances were simulated using CST Microwave Studio, and the prototypes were measured in a Satimo StarLab anechoic chamber. Silver printing and injection molding technologies were successfully utilized for fabricating new SEBS materials (styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene) in wearable devices. The SEBS materials improved the radiation efficiency of the antennas by 1.6 dB for the GNSS and 2.2 dB for the BT over the previously used TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) materials. The overmolded printed and hybrid integrated discrete antennas produced added-value for electronics fabrication thanks to its flexible and seamless integration technique. In addition, it is a low-cost mass manufacturing method. The research opens new perspectives for product definitions with a flexible, low loss material that enables better antenna performance.