You could think of it as more bars in a can, but the way Anthony Sutera and Rhett Spencer of Sandy-based Chamtech Enterprises look at it, their spray-on antenna could not only make mobile devices more efficient, but also help the devices preserve energy better. ---
“If you could save 10 percent in battery life, multiplied by all the phones in use, the amount of energy you save in charging is equivalent to the same amount of power generated annually by wind and solar,” Sutera says. “You would save that much every month.”
The spray-on nanotechnology actually has been under development since 2009, and the company got started in 2010. One of its business partners, also a United States Special Forces solider, developed the idea out of necessity, in recognizing the need to be able to use an antenna in the field that would not give away his position.
“The idea was to be able to hide your antenna in plain sight,” Spencer says.
With their technology, a quick spray of the solution on surfaces ranging from a wall to a tree could dramatically improve the antenna range for various devices. In one test, they painted the solution onto a tree and were able to transmit a VHF signal to an airplane flying 14 miles overheard. In another test, they compared the strength of standard antennas' ability to transmit from underwater compared to their nano spray. The standard antenna was able to transmit from roughly 100 feet under water—the spray-on was able to transmit from a full nautical mile.
While the company has been developing the technology for government clients for the past few years, it is now readying to take the technology to a commercial market. This decision came after Sutera and Spencer made a big splash at a technology forum hosted by Google in February (see video below), where the men promoted their product. Since then, the technology has already been lauded by various tech-review sites, as well as the Wall Street Journal's blog.
“Thanks to Google, we got a lot of commercial interest,” Sutera says. “Right now, we’re trying to figure out the best uses and the best partners on the commercial side of the business.”
Regardless, the technology is already making waves. By boosting power and saving energy at the same time, the antenna-in-a-can technology could revolutionize mobile technology, say the company founders. “It’s kind of a no-lose deal,” Sutera says.