MIAMI (Jan. 23, 2014) – FIU researchers are using technology and principles derived from the traditional Japanese art of origami to create remarkably compact and incredibly efficient antennas and electronics.
“By using origami geometries we can reconfigure antennas to whatever shape fits our purpose,” said Stavros Georgakopoulos, assistant professor in FIU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “These geometries offer unique advantages of collapsibility. That’s important for a number of applications, such as technology that needs to be launched in space or used on the battlefield.”
Georgakopoulos is working with colleagues at Georgia Tech with the support of a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The team will work on the development of unique shapes that can allow the antennas to be only a couple of centimeters when folded flat and expand into much larger spaces with powerful, ultra-broadband capabilities.
“A soldier will be able to carry a powerful antenna into combat folded in his back pocket,” said Georgakopoulos.
Possible applications for the antennas include a range of military and commercial uses, including communications equipment, wireless sensors, health monitoring sensors, portable medical equipment, and many other applications.
A traditional paper-folding art, origami includes both modular and moving types of structures. Mathematicians recently have focused on theoretical and practical questions raised by origami, resulting in technical advances in many areas.
Origami structures can be fabricated from a wide variety of materials. While Georgakopoulos mainly uses paper, he is also exploring plastics and flexible dielectrics. The researchers use sophisticated inkjet printing techniques to deposit conductive materials such as copper or silver onto paper in order to create antenna elements with novel signal reception and other capabilities.
Georgakopoulos is the chair and organizer of a workshop for academics, industry and government representatives. Renowned origami artists will participate. The workshop will be held today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Room 2300 of the Engineering Center, and Friday, Jan. 24 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the MARC Pavilion on FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus.
About the FIU College of Engineering and Computing: Florida International University’s College of Engineering and Computing is South Florida’s leading engineering education resource. The College offers a complete range of fully accredited engineering baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in biomedical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical and materials engineering; construction management; and computing and information sciences. With close to $20 million of external funding, research is an integral part of the College’s mission and its success. The College is committed to diversity, and is the largest producer of Hispanic engineers, and one of the top producers of African-American engineers and females with doctoral degrees in engineering. For more information about the FIU College of Engineering and Computing, visit http://www.cec.fiu.edu
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded 200,000 degrees and enrolls 50,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.