The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing an omnidirectional patch antenna that minimizes camera pills' blind spots, helping doctors see the stomach and intestines during wireless capsule endoscopies (WCEs). The antenna’s smaller size will also enhance patients' comfort and decrease the risk of bowel obstructions. All endoscopic procedures help doctors identify pathologies, cancers and the location of internal bleeding within the gastrointestinal tract. WCEs, however, offer two additional benefits: They do not require sedation and provide better visualization of the small intestine. A patient undergoing WCE simply swallows a pill containing a small camera, an LED light, a battery and a built-in antenna. The antenna transmits approximately 50,000 color images from the gastrointestinal tract to a small recording unit affixed to the person’s waist during the 8-hour procedure. Microstrip patch antennae are one of the most popular antenna structures for use in WCEs because they are lightweight and easy to manufacture. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed an omnidirectional, microstrip, waveguide-shaped patch antenna that is 50 percent smaller than the antenna now used in WCEs, making the diagnostic camera pill easier to swallow. Its improved design also allows for 360-degree coverage of the stomach and intestines, reducing the occurrence of blind spots. Wireless capsule endoscopies now account for only about 8 percent of all endoscopic procedures in the United States, but their popularity is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years. With a compound annual growth rate of 26.3 percent, global WCE sales are expected to reach $767.5 million by 2015.
An improved patch antenna for smaller, easier-to-swallow camera pills that permit better visualization of the stomach and intestines
- Provides an open cavity within antennae, allowing for insertion of additional electronics that boost versatility
- Emits an omnidirectional signal, ensuring optimal signal quality regardless of orientation and reducing blind spots
- Allows for various shapes in the design, granting more freedom in its use or application
- Uses less material, making it possible for the capsule that surrounds it to be smaller and, therefore, easier to swallow
Microstrip patch antennae are used in a wide range of electronic devices - from GPS receivers to aerospace communication equipment. By folding the patch antenna in a waveguide shape, University of Florida researchers created a device that emits an omnidirectional radiation pattern. The folded patch forms an electromagnetic shielded space by the ground plane of the patch antenna. This space can be utilized for electronic circuit or printing circuit board integration, which will be protected from electromagnetic interference (EMI). This compact design also reduces the amount of material necessary for the design. The antenna can be tuned to satisfy input impedance matching without an extra matching circuit.