Feb 11 AT 11:46 AM Nick Gray 77 Comments

Solve for X: spray-on antenna solution could revolutionize mobile industry


Rhett Spencer, CTO at Chamtech Enterprises, recently took to the stage at Google’s Solve for X event to talk about a new nano spray-on antenna material which could revolutionize the way service providers deploy cell towers. It could also increase cellphone energy efficiency by 10 percent.

The spray-on antenna was originally conceived when Chamtech was contacted by the US Military to help them create a conforming antenna for special ops since traditional antenna systems were bulky and hard to hide from the enemy. Chamtech came up with a solution which could be painted on to nearly any surface (trees, buildings and even existing antenna) which transmits and receives radio frequencies much better than standard copper wire solutions.

The end result is a technology which can enable a cell phone to transmit twice as far with the same amount of power or transmit the same distance with only half the power.

This spray-on antenna solution has been tested on RFID tags (increasing the effective range from 5 feet to 700 feet) and even an iPhone which saw an increase of 20 dBm (roughly a 40 percent increase). Chamtech is looking to collaborate with multiple industries and already has its spray-on antenna solution available for purchase.

How long do you think it’ll be before a smartphone manufacturer starts using Chamtech’s spray-on antenna technology to enhance handset signal strength?

Via: Engadget

Source: Wall Street Journal

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Wunako

    Wow that sounds incredible if they manage to start usuing LTE and HSPA+ on the spray on antenna this could stop the “theres a lack of Spectrum” problem and at the same time could keep up with our demand..

    imagine a world where you always have atleast 3 bars, even in the boondocks

    • Taknarosh

      I’m not sure you understand spectrum scarcity. No spray will solve to problem of wave multiplexing to meet increasing demand.

      What you mean is lack of base stations to provide coverage.

      • PacoBell

        Maybe with an omnidirectional transmission pattern, but if you use phased array to beamform (which happens to be part of the LTE spec), there won’t be as much of an issue with co-channel interference.

    • playaspec

      You must be huffing that spray can if you think this is legitimate. *ALL* his claims are purely anecdotal, and just 18 months ago, Mr. Sutera was facing heat for running a military training center in Utah. Interesting that in this short time his ‘company’ invents what all the worlds most brilliant engineers of the last 100 years somehow overlooked.


      DIdn’t your mother ever tell you if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?

  • dacatalyst41

    Mass produce this now! Oh wait….it probably causes cancer…

    • PacoBell

      Maybe not cancer, but possibly heavy metal poisoning due to the nano-scale metal powders being used.

      • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

        I was thinking about this too. Let’s just see where this leads. There is no need for paranoid ideas now. I am certain that Chamtech has already taken this into consideration. Remember that antennas are harmful because of the materials used. They didn’t day what materials they used.

        • epps720

          Probably will cause something…imagine the type of service you would get by bathing yourself in this stuff

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      Everything causes cancer. You know what else causes cancer? Cancer.

    • playaspec

      It may not cause cancer, but it will empty your wallet. This is a SCAM.

  • spazby

    Just plain awesome…keep these great ideas coming…

  • kazahani

    Big giant WTF’s on this.

    An antenna that comes in a spraycan? Sounds…wierd.

    • WlfHart

      Sounds awesome!

  • inviolable

    This sounds completely bananas. I’m gonna spray my dog and rename him mobile hot spot.

    • t

      I dropped my laughing at this comment lol

    • Justin


  • Thomas MacDougall

    hope it works with wifi!

  • coolthecat

    That is definitely a step in the right direction. I’d like some of that. I could spray my bald spot, and charge cellular providers roaming tariffs.

    • AmericanJedi001

      Simply awesome. #COTD!

    • Voliam

      And if it came in various hair colors, we could kill two birds with one application!

  • thekaz

    I can’t imaging spraying this on trees is really a good idea.. now building – that might be a good idea. I wonder about dead spots out in the middle of nowhere where there really isn’t anything to spray it on.. guess you still need towers there.

    • wooohooo

      how about just the ground

  • http://facebook.com/jestertx2001 Jesse Moreno

    This is the stuff the future is made of.

  • Hall Lo

    Welcome aboard future! :D

  • jamal adam

    This sounds crazy and out of this world and I like.

  • jamal adam

    This sounds crazy and out of this world and I like it.

    • jamal adam

      an edit button would be nice

  • Timoh

    Screw waiting for a manufacturer to do it. How can we adapt this to our current devices? What’s the process for adding this spray on antenna to a device? Does it have to be wired to the sprayed area? Does it just act like a booster if it’s sprayed on something close to the device?

    Need more details. If it’s something I can just spray onto the inside of my battery door and gain improvements that would be huge.

    • Timoh

      Guess I should have watched the video first. Wow, that’s pretty amazing. I’d be willing to crack my phone open and paint the antenna over with that stuff. Also, the fact that it can pull energy in and be self powering is amazing. Way more potential with this material and future revisions of it that radio transmission. These guys are making some revolutions with this material.

      • playaspec

        You’re the ideal mark for this ‘product’. Gullible and uninformed. Now sell everything you have and invest! INVEST!

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    Have not looked at the video yet, but does it says if it is safe to the environment and human health?

    • Hoggdoc

      Here we go, another innovation stopped in it’s tracks by the environmentalists.

  • rond

    Sounds like snake oil to me. Maybe they can make a spray on antenna, but the increased performance claims are totally bogus.

    • Timoh

      Well, if their method is accurately described in the video it does seem to make sense.

      I think everyone can agree that current antenna technology is incredibly inefficient.

      • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

        Agreed. I think the main reason for that is because no one has really tried to improve it in over 100 years. The fact that we still use the same exact method as the very first radio says it all.

        • playaspec

          @Nick Gary said: ” I think the main reason for that is because no one has really tried to improve it in over 100 years.”

          You are completely talking out your ass! Antenna research has been huge for the last 30-40 years. There isn’t much to improve as the laws of physics limit what is possible.

          “The fact that we still use the same exact method as the very first radio says it all.”

          Yes it does. It says: “This is how it’s done”

      • playaspec

        @Timoh said: “I think everyone can agree that current antenna technology is incredibly inefficient.”

        No, I don’t think everyone would agree. In fact, most RF engineers and HAMs would disagree with that statement. They’d also agree that a can of spray snake oil isn’t going to make your signal go farther.

    • playaspec

      This is total snake oil. None of his claims stand up to scrutiny, and they’re all anecdotal. Tell me about what this alleged nano-material is made of (scamonium I bet), and show me peer reviewed verification. This scam artist isn’t even bright enough to know the difference between Mw and mW in the RFID example. Some expert.

  • nivekkev

    Wow!!! So does this mean that I can use it with my Bluetooth, leave my fone plugged up inside the house while I am out in the yard and be able to talk or listen to music? AWESOME!!! No more dead spots or low signal areas inside of buildings anymore. SWEET!!! I am all in on this one!!!

  • Shawn Clark

    Sounds crazy but im with them on this.

  • redraider133

    Someone patent it before the patent troll apple gets a hold of it and starts suing everyone and everything

    • Timoh

      Well, I’m more than certain that they already hold the patent(chamtec). I’d be more concerned with who buys them as a company, or at least gives the most funding.

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    If it comes to market, and works as claimed, sign me up. I am frequently in locations with marginal cell signal, any potential improvement welcomed.

  • Shawn

    I think the iPhone 5 actually supports the spray on. Can anyone confirm?

  • Nathan D.

    Wow this is awesome I hope this becomes a standard sooner rather then later, because this can really help people now and the best part about this you don’t need a new phone for this.

  • Jack Mac

    And it isn’t even close to APRIL 1st !

    • PacoBell
      • playaspec

        That link has *NOTHING* to do with this fake spray. Are you a shill?

        • PacoBell

          No, I’m not. “Conformal antenna” sounds awfully similar to “spray on antenna”. “New radio frequency technologies applied using three-dimensionally textured dielectric materials with precisely implemented transmissions lines.” Nothing? Please. If anyone’s looking like a shill, it’s be you with all your FUD posts on this thread.

          • PacoBell

            Oh, and if you want a bit of science behind why this technology isn’t fake, please read chapter 15.2 of this book: http://books.google.com/books?id=UYpV8L8GNCwC

            Pay close attention to the relation between surface texture and transverse electric waves.

          • PacoBell

            Here’s some more research that supports the notion of specially textured surfaces improving antenna functionality.


          • PacoBell
          • Ryker

            Sorry, PacoBell, but playaspec has it right. This is utter garbage. Just because a ‘spray-on antenna’ would be conformal to a surface doesn’t mean it will work any better than something designed specifically for that surface.

            And yes, I own and have read the previous edition of the book by Balanis that you linked to, along with about twenty others covering various antenna and electromagnetics topics. I have a bookshelf with about 10 feet of journal articles covering antennas and microwave engineering, going from about 2001 to now. I’ve been designing antennas (including conformal ones) for about 10 years. (By the way, conformal antennas are not new – they’ve been around in various forms for about 50 years.) The other two links (Seivenpiper’s PhD and soft-surfaces for patch antennas) don’t apply since a). metasurfaces are very complicated, regular 3D structures that don’t look anything like the ‘nanocapacitors’ shown in the presentation, and b). all of the antennas that Chamtech showed were linear antennas and don’t have a problem with surface waves, and therefore don’t need a soft surface solution.

            This. Is. Complete. Garbage.

  • PacoBell

    This research looks similar to something we’ve seen last year: http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/20/nanoparticle-inks-print-3d-antennas-orders-of-magnitude-better/

  • honourbound68

    wonder how long this would last in inclement weather though? would it be cost efficient still?

  • aranea

    I hope this idea sticks (pun intended). ATT has very bad reception in my home.

  • txbluesman

    I will just paint my truck and never hit another dead spot….I needed a new paint job anyway. LOL! Hope it can be waxed.

  • GF1Fanatic

    This is really the final straw. This is all out war.
    This is contrary to Apple’s whole philosophy, to give the consumer a choice. Isn’t that the theme behind the original 1984 Apple commercial with Big Brother.

    This has become vindictive with Apple. They have so much money in the bank, they don’t care how much it costs them. We need to contact out legislators, picket Apple stores, get the word out. Apple has become anti-competitive. We lay back and do nothing and watch Android destroyed or we get off our asses. Hopefully, Google starts taking this seriously and throws their weight into the fray.

    • Hoggdoc

      Where did this comment come from. I watched the entire video describing this new technology and don’t remember anything that spoke about any battle between Apple and Google. However, it is well known that there is a race between these two giants of technology for dominance.

      This nano technology in RF antenna enhancement applies to both platforms as far as I can see.

      • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

        I think he simply posted the comment on the wrong article.

  • rashad360

    Sometimes our huge military budget actually gives us some practical returns, this tech sounds pretty great

  • theTruthSquad

    I am going to paint my girlfriend’s panties and see what is going on when I am not around.

  • Fisher223

    Anyone want to call the number on their website to see what the pricing actually is for the spray-on antenna system? I have the HTC Sensation which houses all the antennas in the removable back cover. I’d imagine I could simply coat the interior of the cover and I should be set to go.

  • KRS_Won

    As much as i travel, I would love this on my car. Not just for cell strength but also radio stations.

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse


  • lostinstowe

    Hmm…now if they would only invent something to spray on the battery!!

    • playaspec

      Or spray on intelligence. That would remedy most of the comments here.

  • hendosan

    Gob Smackingly Awsome

  • hendosan

    Gob Smackingly Awesome

  • Lee

    Have there been any tests done in the 2Ghz range? I’m interested in extending ‘router’ range from a few hundred feet to possibly a mile or more.

    • PacoBell

      Me too! I’d love to be able to spray this stuff on my 13 dBi steel Wi-Fi yagi to see what gain improvements can be had.

    • fun

      This is exactly why it is very un-likely to be sold to the general public. They may release it for certain applications, whether commercial companies or government agencies doesn’t matter. If it works as advertised it could potentially cause lots of signal interference as well as people doing just what you suggest. Most of the devices you use are tuned for a certain signal. The same would have to be done using this. You can bet the cost will be high enough to keep it from the general public for this very reason.

  • sri.valarino

    Does this mean no more ugly ‘palm trees’ in Southern California?

  • Sundown

    I would be interested to know more about its effectiveness in the 1.3 Mhz through 2.3 Ghz. what formulas thew use for determining how much material to use for various frequency bands.

  • Woody Peitzer

    This is 99% sales hype and 1% claim of lossless nano capacitance. In reality, capacitance has dielectric loss which decreases with distance. That is why lower loss feedlines are larger diameter.
    He was tripping up on his terminology and couldn’t get his dB straight from dBm. There are a lot of printed antennas out there today. Most cellphones use a metal film on mylar.

    I contend most antennas break down to two basic charateristics: efficiency and pattern. Needs more science behind his efficiency claims.

  • LittleGreenDude

    I would put it on some glasses and make epic shades out of them. And they would boost my reception!

  • vinay

    There was a great invention. By this will be possible to provide wireless connectivity in each and every corner of the world.