Inmarsat Partner Demos Electronic Beam-forming Antenna
by Peter B. de Selding —
A prototype of the Kymeta Corp. Metamaterials Surface Antenna. Credit: Photo by Melissa M. Lehuta/Intellectual Ventures Lab
PARIS — Startup satellite ground antenna manufacturer Kymeta on April 24 said it successfully established a link with a satellite delivering high-definition (HD) television signals in Ka-band using one of its electronic beam-forming antennas prototypes.
Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta, which in 2012 was spun off by Intellectual Ventures, a patent-mining company, said the antenna in question was 1 centimeter thick and measured 38 by 43 centimeters. It was connected by USB cable and used less than three watts of power to effect the beam forming.
Kymeta in March formed a development partnership with mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat of London. The two companies said the exclusive relationship is intended to develop a Kymeta Aero Antenna technology for use on business jets linking to Inmarsat’s GlobalXpress Ka-band mobile communications system.
Kymeta said the antenna used with the Ka-band HDTV satellite employs a printed circuit board-like surface that can be mass produced at low cost. Based on the use of so-called metamaterials, which use microscopic components arranged in a specific way to achieve a given capability, the flat-panel antennas electronically orient the beam to the satellite with no mechanically moving parts, which helps reduce production cost and power consumption.
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