j Monarch Antenna, Inc.

The performance of every antenna system has to be compromised to meet packaging/aesthetic requirements and therefore the choice of antennae strongly affects wireless system performance. In addition, the proximity relative positioning and strength of the wireless signal with respect to the antennae impacts the signal level and may vary due to the portable nature of these applications.

A Self Structuring Antenna system continuously monitors the signal and adjusts its configuration (electrical properties) to increase signal strength. This is accomplished through continuous "smart" switching/selection of a "set" of antenna combinations through its feedback loop. An SSA not only simplifies the antenna design process, it also counteracts some of the compromises which had to be introduced due to packaging.

SSA technology is jointly owned by Delphi and MSU, and will be licensed to Monarch Antenna, Inc. for all wireless applications. Initially, the company will focus on Military, Computer Networks, and Consumer Products.

Self-Structuring Antenna (SSA) is a smart antenna system, which responds to variations in the quality of the incoming wireless signal by reconfiguring its electrical topology in order to maintain at all times a reliable communication link. SSA uses a feedback signal from the device indicative of the signal quality and sets the states of plurality of relays distributed across the antenna topology in order to reroute the electrical current across the antenna aperture. A Genetic Algorithm running on a microcomputer decides on the combination of switch states based on the feedback signal and settles on the best solution after a brief search. As opposed to conventional antenna designs, where the antenna is unable to adjust its physical structure to adapt to changes in signal characteristics and in its environment, the SSA is an entirely new class of antenna, whose electrical structure can be altered in response to changes in appropriate stimuli.

SSA has been conceived by scientists at Delphi Corporation and Michigan State University, which have recently launched a joint venture (Monarch Antenna, Inc.) to commercialize the technology in civilian and military markets. SSA is the product of 15 years of R&D and has been proven in laboratory environment. Prototypes have already been built and tested showing superior performance compared to existing antenna solutions.

The first prototype was developed for TV application. A wire template was etched onto a circuit board of size 24 by 18 inches, and 30 electromechanical relays were used to control the shape of the antenna structure. The automatic gain control (AGC) voltage was used for measuring signal quality. Several experiments showed that a signal superior to that produced by the standard "rabbit ear" and loop antennas could be obtained across the VHF and UHF bands.

A second set of prototypes was developed for automotive FM band antennas. These prototypes were constructed on a flexible substrate using 32 miniature relays as switches. Again the AGC output was used as feedback. To test the antenna system, the template was placed in the rear window of a pickup truck and the signal received from various commercial FM broadcasters was measured. The results proved superior to a standard whip antenna under a variety of vehicle orientations.

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Monarch Antenna, Inc.  |  3055 Plymouth Rd, Ste 12  |  Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Ph 734.213.4944  |  Em