Solve for X: Anthony Sutera on low power wireless everywhere

Uploaded by wesolveforx on 07.02.2012

ANTHONY SUTERA: My name's Anthony Sutera.
I want to speak to you for a bit about a technology we did
sort of stumble on.
Our company's called CamTech.
We do nano spray-on antenna material.

So if you take a typical device, a wireless phone or
radio, whatever it is that you have in your hand, can you
imagine being able to have a device that's already being
manufactured that could transmit twice as far with the
same amount of power, or transmit with the same
footprint using only half the power?
Now, can you magic for a minute that same device being
able to transmit from the depths of the oceans to outer
space, effortlessly transmitting between
Also, think about a highway.
If you go down the road, and you have a painted stripe on
the highway, and to have broadband connectivity
connected to your vehicle as you run down the highway
through a bunch of array of antennas.
So enabling all that technology is a nanotechnology
with a bunch of spray on particles.
Next slide please.
So imagine getting rid of the ugly cell sites and the
microwave towers that you see cluttering the landscape,
getting them to blend in to space, into the buildings and
the greenery.
No more ugly sites.
You could paint on the walls, you could paint cell towers,
do anything you'd like with that.

So I want to talk for a little bit about where
this all came from.
My vision for our company was to create a conformal antenna
for special operations.
I have a business partner, and he came to me with a problem.
He said, when I had my job, and when I was in the theater,
I couldn't transport antennas, I couldn't transmit, I
couldn't conceal them.
Do we have a solution for that?
So I went to the drawing board and come up with a technology
that would allow, what I thought would be, a 75%
solution to the problem, a antenna that could transmit
maybe as well as a standard antenna.
Or if it didn't, it could save their butt in a pinch.
So we were asked by the government to try our
technology out in the field, and this literally is the
first picture of the first test we ever did.
We went out in the field, applied this
antenna to do a tree.
We transmitted on it, and we had a government team test the
results from it.
They came back to us and said, hey, this thing is working
much better than our standard antenna, which they had a very
good standard antenna as a baseline.
So I said, well. that's great, but let's try it again and
make sure that we really know what's going on.
So they asked us back the next day.
We came back out.
They replicated the test. Not only did we get the same good
results, they computed the results, and we were in the
order of magnitude better than their best antenna that they
transmitted on.
So this was when everything shifted for us.
So I want to talk a little bit about history for a minute.
120 years ago, Tesla and Marconi created the first
radio system, and it used a wire as an
antenna, a copper wire.
So the copper wire that was used 120 years ago basically
is the same type of technology we use now on almost every
mainstream radio device, from cellphones to wireless routers
to everything.
It's a piece of wire.
It's either coiled up, or it's pointed, directed, or set up
in an array.
It's the same technology.
So the issue with that is, if you've ever been around an
antenna, say on a cop car, when you transmit on it, it
gets extremely hot.
So if there's a lot of heat coming out of the antenna,
what does that tend to tell us?
The antenna is not very efficient.
If you go up to a cop car, even after they're done
transmitting, within a few seconds, you put your hand on
the antenna, and it'll burn the hell out of you.
So we understand that that antenna
was not very efficient.
Also, a lot of people have researched putting other type
of metals on a copper conductor to try to
dissipate the heat.
The only other way to turn the power up is what we call the
brute force method, which is a bigger wire, a thicker wire,
we're putting more power through it.
Like I say, everything that leads to that path shows that
we're getting some signal out, but it's
certainly not very efficient.
So what we've done is kind of came up with a whole different
way of thinking about this.
We're doing what we call the wireless antenna.
So our material uses thousands and thousands of nano
capacitors that we were able to actually spray paint on.
We've come up with a material that, when you spray on, it
lays out just in the right pattern, and all these little
capacitors charge and discharge extremely quickly in
real time, and they don't create any heat.
On a copper wire, the surface area of the wire, you have the
AC signal going back and forth, and they're fighting to
get off the material.
A capacitor is very efficient if energy's flowing through it
very quickly.
So when we hook up our material to a radio, the
signal hops from capacitor to capacitor very quickly, and
then finds its happy spot, and launches into space.
I want to show you a few examples of what we've done
with our technology.
These are actual pictures from different events we've worked
on and different projects we've worked on with some of
our government customers.
So this is a tree antenna we painted on.
Within five minutes, we had this connected and
transmitting on VHF to an airplane 14 miles overhead,
double the range we could get from a standard
antenna on the ground.
This is an airplane that simulates a UAV payload.
It was transmitting a VHF comlink and also a
microwave data link.
They had two antennas that were mounted on this plane,
standard antennas.
We simply painted ours on a piece of tape onto the bottom
of the platform.
We were able to get 300% better range out of both of
those links.
This is a little VHS ground station we made on the fly for
you California highway folks.
It worked very effectively, as well.
This is a very interesting slide and a
very important slide.
This is a 1 milliwatt Rf ID tag.
What you can see on the sides of it, you can see our
material applied on the edges of it.
That material actually was placed over a standard antenna
that was already on the tag.
The people at this event, could only get the tag to
transmit 5 feet.
They had a larger milliwatt tag that had burned up, and
they were doing an experiment where they wanted an aircraft
to read the tag on the ground.
We actually were able to make that thing go from 5 to 700
feet, so it was a monumental event.
We did a test on an iPhone.
Hate to say that in here, but it was an iPhone.
What you can see in the picture actually is the
standard antenna in the third generation iPhone.
We painted it over that antenna, and we put it in a
Faraday cage, and was able to seal it off and transmit a
simulated phone call, and then measure the DBM coming off the
standard antenna and the antenna with
our material applied.
We had an increase of 20 DBM over the standard antenna.

What we did last, which was one of the most exciting
things we've done in our recent endeavour, was we did a
test for a group of folks to test how well our material
transmitted underwater, and we didn't have much of an
expectation of this.
We took two standard antennas, put them down 20 feet in
seawater, and drove out.
We were able to transmit 100 feet at 50 megahertz on two
standard military antennas.
We put our antennas under the water, drove out, and we
actually were able to transmit 1 nautical mile underwater.
We went so far that we actually lost our
guy out in the water.
We had our laser range finder go on, and that was actually
our last spot where we could find him, so we stopped the
test at that point, or we may actually have gone out a
little bit further.
So what we're talking about is a profound way of thinking, a
whole paradigm change, on antenna technology.
And what we'd like to think about is ways we can enable
wireless connectivity anywhere.
We would envision changing the device, all the antennas in
the devices, as well as the infrastructure side, so
putting paintable antennas on the wall and becoming cell
sites or micro nodes at any size level you could imagine.
We're also talking about being able to gather energy out of
the atmosphere with this material.
We've had some preliminary success already being able to
funnel, what we think in the future, would be enough power
to power up a small node.
So you can imagine having cell sites painted on the walls
that power themselves?
We also are working with some other concepts where we feel
like we can improve the linings of electric motors and
efficiency of that.
And also the possibility of actually improving some
efficiency on the power grids, as well, with the technology.
So we're really, really excited about where we're
going, like I said.
We didn't plan on this working as well as it did, and we're
very happy we came up with a formulation that works very
We'd love to collaborate with anybody in this group.
I met some phenomenal people on this trip, and if anybody
has any ideas or would like to collaborate on anything, I'd
be happy to talk to you.
Appreciate your time and thank you, everybody.
MALE SPEAKER: Let us define x.
x is a solution, a solution to a seemingly insurmountable
problem like climate change or cancer, one
that effects the world.
But what if we redefine x as a challenge, an opportunity for
radical thinking, a chance to light up the world with
breakthrough ideas and cutting-edge technology, the
stuff of science fiction that just might fly after all?
Solving for x requires wonder and imagination and the vision
to build seemingly impossible solutions to the world's
biggest problems.
Solve for x.
Moonshot Thinking.