Body-centric wireless communications: wearable antennas, channel modelling, and near-field antenna measurements
2017-01-23T12:23:22Z (GMT) by
This thesis provides novel contribution to the field of body-centric wireless communications (BCWC) with the development of a measurement methodology for wearable antenna characterisation on the human body, the implementation of fully-textile wearable antennas and the on-body channel modelling considering different antenna types and user's dynamic effects. More specifically, a measurement methodology is developed for characterising wearable antennas on different locations of the human body. A cylindrical near-field (CNF) technique is employed, which facilitates wearable antenna measurements on a full-body solid anthropomorphic mannequin (SAM) phantom. This technique allows the fast extraction of the full spherical radiation pattern and the corresponding radiation efficiency, which is an important parameter for optimising wearable system design. It appears as a cost- effective and easy to implement solution that does not require expensive positioning systems to rotate the phantom, in contrast to conventional roll-over-azimuth far-field systems. Furthermore, a flexible fully-textile wearable antenna is designed, fabricated and measured at 2.4 GHz that can be easily integrated in smart clothing. It supports surface wave propagation and exhibits an omni-directional radiation pattern that makes it suitable for on-body communications. It is based on a multilayer low-profile higher-mode patch antenna (HMMPA) design with embroidered shorting vias. Emphasis is given to the fabrication process of the textile vias with conductive sewing thread that play an important role in generating the optimal mode for on-body radiation. The radiation pattern shape of the proposed fully-textile antenna was found to be similar to a copper rigid antenna, exhibiting a high on-body radiation efficiency of 50 %. The potential of the embroidery technique for creating wearable antennas is also demonstrated with the fabrication of a circularly polarised spiral antenna that achieves a broadband performance from 0.9-3 GHz, which is suitable for off-body communications. By testing the textile spiral antenna on the SAM phantom, the antenna-body interaction is examined in a wide frequency range. Finally, a statistical characterisation of on-body communication channels is undertaken both with EM simulations and channel measurements including user's dynamic movement (walking and running). By using antenna types of different polarisation, the on-body channels are examined for different propagation conditions. Four on-body channels are examined with the one part fixed on the waist of the human body while the other part located on the chest, back, wrist and foot. Channel path gain is derived, while large-scale and small-scale fading are modelled by best-fit statistical distributions.