Research Highlights

Antenna for wireless communications now stretchable

Published online 15 October 2015

Scientists make a wearable and stretchable metal antenna that can wirelessly transmit data.

Biplab Das

A research team from Saudi Arabia and the US has created a wearable and stretchable antenna that can potentially be used to transfer data wirelessly between a portable device and a smart phone. 

The scientists from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, and US-based University of Illinois used a polymer-backed copper thin film to make it1

Attached to a stretchable fabric, the antenna endured up to 2,000 strain cycles — this involved flexing, twisting, stretching and crumpling the antenna. And the copper thin film in the antenna didn’t sustain any dents or cracks.

The strain test, lasting for three weeks, demonstrated that the copper antenna could retain its electrical properties in ambient conditions. 

When attached to stretchable fabric on a human arm, the antenna can wirelessly communicate data up to a distance of 400 metres, the researchers say.  

“This antenna could be connected to sensors on the body and transfer data wirelessly to a smart phone for storage or processing,” says principal investigator Muhammad M. Hussain. “Such antenna would be useful for athletes to measure their physical parameters such as body temperature, oxygen saturation and blood pressure in real time during workouts."


  1. Hussain, A. M. et al. Metal/polymer based stretchable antenna for constant frequency far-field communication in wearable electronics. Adv. Funct. Mater. (2015).