Kymeta News

April 19, 2013

Kymeta Brings Meta Materials to Satellite Antennas

April 19th, 2013 By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor

Kymeta Corporation has made a big splash in the satellite industry.”Disruptive” is too often misused, but it is fair to say the spin-out has a lot of people looking forward to its new antenna technology.

“A lot of people have talked about us,” said Kymeta CEO Vern Fotheringham. “We’re very pleased with the introduction to the broader community. We only put out one press release [in March] before [Satellite 2013].”

Kymeta is a spinout from Seattle-based Intellectual Ventures (News – Alert), the “Invention capital” company buying, licensing and investing in new ideas. Intellectual Ventures was founded by former Microsoft (News  – Alert) chief strategist and chief technical officer, Nathan Myhrvold, and has 70,000 IP (intellectual property) assets it acquired.

Intellectual Ventures invented and refined the Metamaterials Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T) and formed Kymeta in August 2012 to create “game-changing” satellite user terminal products.

Investors in the company include Microsoft founder Bill Gates (News  – Alert)and Lux Capital.

Metamaterials are assemblies of specially organized structures that deliver unusual physical properties, enabling the manipulation of electromagnetic fields in a way that can’t be done with natural materials. The field is best known for proving you can build an invisibility cloak, like Star Trek’s cloaking device or Harry Potter’s magical cloak.

Applied to satellite antennas, metamaterials can make smaller, more energy-efficient designs.

Kymeta has an exclusive license to apply MSA-T to the satellite world, including 107 patents in the Intellectual Ventures portfolio.

“Flat panel tech abounds, but ones with no moving parts using software-defined beam-steering, beam-forming are few and far between.” Fotheringham said. “So far we seem to be the only guys that have cracked the code at a price/performance with a promise of taking these technologies all the way down into the consumer electronics markets.”