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New communications technology is looking good

Posted on 17 June 2002

High-tech is turning to high fashion as devices such as mobile phones and personal organisers are increasingly expected to look good as well as work well. Researchers at the University of York are working on technical solutions for small and increasingly mobile devices.

People in today's fast-moving digital world want to be able to access information quickly and easily on the most up-to-date devices. But designing something that looks good and works well when its user is constantly on the move is a formidable challenge. It becomes more complex when phones are combined with personal organisers, databases, and sometimes email and web access.

Mobile phones are radio-based, most using an antenna working on one radio system in one narrow frequency band. The convergence of modern digital communications, broadcasting, computing and data services means that a variety of radio systems are being incorporated into many more devices.

Now academics at the University of York are researching the types of radio-based antenna which will be effective in a variety of locations and orientations by working on three bands - digital audio broadcast, GSM mobile phones, and UMTS – universal mobile telecommunications systems, the next generation of mobile phones.

This requires far more sophisticated antennas and Professor Andy Marvin in the University's Department of Electronics has been granted £113,000 over two years by the EPSRC - Electronics and Physical Sciences Research Council - to research the possibilities. He is working with Dr Stuart Porter, Dr Myles Capstick, Dr Lee Holloway, and Radioscope, a company that specialises in software for multi-mode devices. They will also collaborate with York EMC Services, a University spin-off company.

Professor Marvin said: "The growth in communications devices such as mobile phones has been phenomenal. But people are demanding higher performance and more functionality all the time. We hope to assess the best way forward for the next wave of personal communications devices."

Notes to editors:

  • The work is funded by the EPSRC under a LINK project.
  • The lead partner is Radioscope, which specialises in software for high-tech communications devices
  • York EMC Services are collaborators in the project and provide antenna measurement expertise
  • The University of York's Applied Electromagnetics Research Group has considerable experience in designing wide-frequency range antennas for a variety of industrial customers.

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David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153