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Bending and On-Arm Effects on a Wearable Antenna

for 2.45 GHz Body Area Network
Bin Hu, Guo-Ping Gao, Le-Le He, Xiao-Dong Cong, and Jin-Ning Zhao

AbstractThree types of exible textile antennas for 2.45 GHz

body area network (BAN) are compared in this letter. Two types of
conducting materials are used to form radiation patch and ground
plane; they are called copper foil tape (CFT, 0.05 mm thickness)
and Shieldex (SH, 0.13 mm thickness, 0.009 Ohm surface resistivity). The substrate is a thin felt with relative permittivity of 1.2
and the thickness of 2 mm. In order to satisfy these requirements
of small frequency shifting when the antenna is bent and placed
on human body, two shorting probes are used to connect the radiation patch and ground plane. Compared to the antenna without
shorting probes, the size of proposed antenna is reduced from
mm , and the measured minimum value of
free space is also decreased from 14.59 to 33.30 dB. Furthermm is designed
more, an antenna with smaller size of
by modifying the proposed structure, and it can act as a wearable
antenna as well.
Index TermsBending performance, body area network,
on-arm performance, textile antenna, wearable antenna.


N RECENT years, body area network (BAN) communication technology has obtained widespread applications in
many elds, such as sport, military, navigation, medical sensing,
health monitoring, and so on. Wearable antenna plays a key role
in a BAN, and it has received more and more attention [1][3].
However, wearable antenna design is still facing many challenges in practical applications. Typically, in order to be integrated onto a garment and increase the comfort of wearability,
the antenna should have minimal size. Furthermore, it is difcult to keep the antenna at when people move, so the antenna
under different bending and crumpling conditions has been reported [4][6]. Crumpling the antenna in [6] is symmetrical,
but the crumple is unpredictable when a human moves, so it
is unreasonable to study a wearable antenna in a symmetrical
crumple case. In this letter, irregular crumple of the antenna in
two cases is studied. Finally, the inuence of the human body
to the antenna should be taken into account as well [7]. The antenna should have minimal impedance detuning and radiation

Manuscript received January 22, 2015; revised March 15, 2015; May 06,
2015; and June 03, 2015; accepted June 13, 2015. Date of publication June 17,
2015; date of current version February 25, 2016. This work was supported by the
National Basic Research Program of China under Grant No. 2014CB744600, the
International Cooperation Project of Ministry of Science and Technology under
Grant No. 2013DFA11140, the National Natural Science Foundation of China
under Grants No. 61401183 and No. 61210010, and the Fundamental Research
Funds for the Central Universities under Grant lzujbky-2014-53.
The authors are with the School of Information Science and Engineering,
Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China (e-mail:
Color versions of one or more of the gures in this letter are available online
Digital Object Identier 10.1109/LAWP.2015.2446512

Fig. 1. Fabricated antenna. (a) CFT antenna-1. (b) CFT antenna-2 and SH

power distortion. A textile antenna can satisfy these requirements, and it has attached great interest.
At the beginning, a textile antenna with planar structure
is proposed, which is called antenna-1. Then, by using two
shorting probes to connect the radiation patch and ground
plane [8][10], the antenna-2 is proposed and its dimension is
reduced sharply. The numerical and experimental results show
that the performance of antenna-2 is better under different
bending and on-arm condition. Furthermore, an antenna-3 is
proposed on the basis of antenna-2. As a comparison in this
letter, these three antennas are fabricated. Two types of conductive materials [11] are used to form the radiation patch and
ground plane of antenna-2 and antenna-3. The materials are
called copper foil tape (CFT) and Shieldex (SH). The antennas
that use these two different conductive materials are called CFT
antenna and SH antenna, respectively.
The prototype of the proposed antenna-1 is shown in
Fig. 1(a). It is fabricated on a felt substrate with thickness of
2 mm and relative permittivity of 1.2. The antenna-1 consists of
two symmetrical F-shaped radiation patches and a rectangular
ground. The radiation patches and ground plane of antenna-2
are connected by two shorting probes as compared to antenna-1.
The prototypes of CFT antenna-2 and SH antenna-2 are shown
in Fig. 1(b). The felt edge is not very smooth in our fabrication.
Hence, the CFT antenna has arms that are not parallel to the
felt edge in Fig. 1, but it has less inuence on the results.
Fig. 2 shows the physical dimensions of antenna-2. The width
of microstrip line
is 9 mm to achieve 50- characteristic
impedance. As a design procedure, the length and width of the
F-shaped radiation patch of antenna-2 are predicted according
to the central resonant frequency ( ) based on the following
equations [12]:

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Fig. 2. Physical dimensions of antenna-2. (The size of ground plane is


Fig. 3. Measured

of CFT antenna-1 under different conditions.

Fig. 4. (a) Measured and simulated

of antenna-2 in at condition. (b) Meaof antenna-2 with different bending radius.

where ,
, , and are velocity of light, length, and
width of F-shaped radiation patch of the antenna-2, the freespace wavelength at 2.45 GHz, and relative permittivity, respectively. The detailed parameters of the antenna-2 are as follows
(unit: mm):


First of all,
of the manufactured antenna-1 is calculated
by using CST Microwave Studio (MWS) Software and measured by using Agilent E5071C Vector Network Analyzer. The
antenna is bent only along the -axis.
shows the degree
, the stronger
of the bending. The smaller bending radius
the bending. The results are shown in Fig. 3. In at condition,
antenna-1 completely meets the requirements of 2.45-GHz
applications, but unexpected frequency shift is observed when
bending radius is
mm. Compared to
mm, we can predict the limitation of the bending
radius for antenna-1 is about 50 mm. The measured result of
antenna-1 placed on arm is also included in Fig. 3. When the
antenna-1 is placed on a human arm, the central frequency shifts
to the right, which is beyond the scope of desired frequency
band. The photographs of antenna-1 with the bending radius
mm and on-arm measurement are shown in insets of
Fig. 3.
The reection coefcients of antenna-2 in at condition are shown in Fig. 4(a). The measured bandwidth of
dB for CFT antenna-2 is 2.4342.491 GHz, while it
is 2.4452.53 GHz for SH antenna-2. The measured bandwidth
for CFT antenna-2 is smaller than simulation, while for SH
antenna-2, it is wider than simulation. The difference between

Fig. 5. Simulated

of antenna-2 under two crumpling cases.

measurement and simulation is primarily due to the environment effect and fabrication inaccuracies. Fig. 4(b) shows the
measured results of antenna-2 under bending conditions. The
bending radius
is chosen as 55, 45, and 39 mm. The results
show that the central frequency of CFT antenna-2 and SH
antenna-2 shifts to the left with the decrease of bending radius
, which has the similar result as the antenna operates in
lower frequency in [3]. According to the measured result, it can
predict that the limitation of bending radius
is about 39 mm
for CFT antenna-2, and it is about 45 mm for SH antenna-2.
Comparing Fig. 3 to Fig. 4, the frequency performance of
antenna-2 under bending condition is better than antenna-1 due
to the use of two shorting probes.
Wearable antenna is close to the human body, so human
movements may cause unpredictable crumple. The performance of antenna-2 under two crumpling cases is explored, and
the crumpling degree of the antenna-2 is shown in the inset of
Fig. 5. When the antenna-2 is slightly crumpled in case 2, the
central frequency shifts to the left compared to its at condition.
The conclusion is the same as the antenna-2 under bending



Fig. 7. (a) Geometry of antenna-3. (b) Photograph of CFT antenna-3 and SH

antenna-3. (The size of ground plane is

Fig. 6. (a) Photograph of SH antenna-2 on-arm condition. (b) Measured and

of antenna-2 on-arm condition.

Fig. 8. Measured and simulated

condition. If the crumpling degree of antenna-2 is more serious

as in case 1, the frequency characteristic becomes bad, but the
effects of crumple can be reduced by placing the antenna on an
arm or at area of the human body [3].
In order to examine the inuence of the human body to the
antenna at 2.45 GHz, the two cases of antenna-2 bended on
arm are both considered as in Fig. 6(a). The two cases are with
clothes and without clothes. A simulation model is investigated
in the inset of Fig. 6(b). The human arm model is set as skin,
fat, muscle, and bone four-layers cylinder from outside to inside, and the thicknesses of the four layers are 2, 5, 20, and
13 mm, respectively. The material properties of different human
tissues at 2.45 GHz are shown in Table I [7]. In the simulation,
the antenna-2 is bended on the human arm model, that is to say,
the bending radius is
mm. Fig. 6(b) shows the simulated and measured results. Simulated operation band shifts to
left and outside the designed band. For the SH antenna-2 bended
on arm in without-clothes case, measured operation bandwidth
is 2.382.485 GHz, while it shifts to higher 2.432.525 GHz in
the with-clothes case. CFT antenna-2 has a similar curve trend
with SH antenna-2, while the 10-dB bandwidth of CFT antenna-2 is smaller than that of SH antenna-2 in both cases. This
result is consistent with Fig. 4(a) and (b). That is to say, whether
in at condition, bending condition, or on-arm condition, the
10-dB bandwidth of CFT antenna-2 is smaller than that of SH
For more discussion, in order to meet the requirements of
small-size structure design ideal for wearable antenna, on the
basis of antenna-2, antenna-3 is designed and shown in Fig. 7(a).
By changing the F-shaped radiation patch to an E-shaped radiation patch, the dimension of antenna-2 is reduced from
mm . The optimized dimensions are as follows (unit:
, and the other physical dimensions are as the same
as antenna-2. Fig. 7(b) shows the photograph of CFT antenna-3

of antenna-3 under different conditions.

Fig. 9. Simulated radiation patterns at 2.45 GHz. (a)

-plane. (b)


and SH antenna-3. Fig. 8 shows the

of antenna-3 in free
space and on arm with clothes. The measured bandwidth is from
2.44 to 2.52 GHz for SH antenna-3, and it is from 2.425 to
2.51 GHz for CFT antenna-3. Both of the measured bandwidths
are wider than simulation. For these two antennas placed on arm
with clothes, the operation bands shift to left as compared to the
at case. The difference between measurement and simulation
is primarily due to the fact that conductive material is not completely adhered to the felt substrate. There is air lling between
conductive material and the felt substrate, and this mistake can
be solved by using more accurate manufacture process.
Fig. 9 shows the radiation patterns of proposed antennas in the
at case and antenna-2 under bending conditions at 2.45 GHz.


Fig. 10. Simulated realized gain of proposed antenna.



By using two shorting probes to connect the radiation patch and

ground plane, the measured minimum value of
of CFT antenna-2 is lower than CFT antenna-1. The frequency characteristics of CFT antenna-2 and SH antenna-2 under bending and
on-arm conditions are stable. Although slight central frequency
shift is observed, its performance can still meet the requirements
of BAN communication. At the same time, the bandwidth of SH
antenna-2 is wider than CFT antenna-2, no matter on-arm condition, bending condition, as well as at condition. On the contrary, the minimum value of
of CFT antenna-2 is smaller
than SH antenna-2. The dimension of antenna-3 is the smallest,
so it is easier to integrate into clothes and place on a at area of
human body.
Three types of textile antennas are proposed, fabricated, and
tested. The measured results show that the performance of antenna-2 under bending and on-arm conditions is the best. By
comparing the two types of conductive materials, it can be seen
that the bandwidth and the magnitude of
of CFT antenna is
smaller than SH antenna. Moreover, on the basis of antenna-2,
the antenna-3 with the smallest size is designed, and its on-arm
performance has been investigated as well.

The omnidirectional patterns are observed in -plane. The patterns in both - and -plane are reduced when the antenna-2 is
bent, but the shapes are still similar as the at case. Fig. 10 shows
the realized peak gain of the proposed three antennas from 2.0 to
3.0 GHz. The realized peak gains are 4.48, 1.47, and 0.64 dB for
antenna-1, antenna-2, and antenna-3 at 2.45 GHz, respectively.
In the operation frequency band, the peak gain values get reduced when antenna-2 is bending.
Table II summarizes the simulated and measured minimum
value of
, bandwidth (BW) and central frequency (Cen.Freq)
of these proposed antennas. It shows that antenna-1 is more sensitive when the antenna is under bending and on-arm conditions.

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