I sure hope they don't try to patent this idea. :-)
Antennas that beam out energy in a narrower band can be more efficient.
Cell towers use this tactic, with several antennas pointing in different
directions to better serve users. Zhong's group has developed a
prototype antenna system that could give that ability to cell phones
themselves, saving energy and extending battery life.
The researchers connected a small Wi-Fi transmitter to three cheap
directional "patch" antennas facing in different directions, as well as
a standard omni-directional antenna. Only one of the four was active at
any one time, with the directional antenna being used to send data to
the base station, and the omni-directional one used to receive it.
The system was mounted on a motorized spinning platform to test its most
crucial quality: the ability to stay connected when the orientation of
the device changed as it rotated (by switching to whichever antenna was
generally oriented toward the base station). The directional antennas
monitored the quality of packets received from the base station to
decide which among them should send the next packet.
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