Friday, April 7, 2017

Problem Solving with Antenna Magus: A conversation with Brian Woods

We sat down with Brian Woods, Managing Director of Magus Pty to talk about some of the latest trends in Antenna Magus and how the software is being used by designers with varying levels of specialization to create innovative systems for the Internet of Things. To see more about the exciting applications for Antenna Magus - from consumer electronics design to exacting, highly specialized antennas for aerospace and communications - check out the Antenna Magus website.

What are customers asking for these days?

First, Antenna Magus users can request antennas that don’t already exist in our database. This has allowed us to innovate in line with what people are actually looking for. In the commercial space, we have seen demand for more compact and wide-band antennas - possibly in response to the increasing requirement for antennas that can be easily integrated into devices while supporting multiple communication standards and frequencies. We also find that antenna arrays are quite popular – particularly with applications like next-generation communication (5G) and far-field wireless power transfer. 
One interesting observation is that modern applications generally do not need newly thought-out antenna types. We find that designing well-known antenna types for modern specifications, materials and manufacture methods – and if needed combining concepts from different antennas - often delivers the best solution. Being able to use a tool like Antenna Magus to help with this investigation process is really valuable in defining what is possible and what you are looking for. 

What emerging technologies are having an impact on Antenna Magus users?

Besides the applications that I have already mentioned, one technology that is really having an impact is additive manufacturing (3D printing) - it’s starting to change the way that antennas and other RF components are made - making more things possible. 3D printed structures can be lighter, and the number of parts and assembly requirements (such as screws and flanges) can be reduced. It is even possible to manufacture the antenna and a complex 3D feed structure as one seamless part. The actual as-built antenna can look a lot more like the original electromagnetic design without being encumbered by supports or the limitations of traditional manufacturing methods. 

What’s exciting to you about the latest version of Antenna Magus?

There are many new antennas an expanded design capabilities and also feature improvements. One thing to mention in line with the Internet of Things is the set of typical ‘RF application note antennas’ that we have recently added specifically for RF design engineers who need antennas but aren’t antenna specialists.
RF engineers use off-the-shelf RF chips in their layouts. Application notes and datasheets for these chips generally include reference layouts which include a microstrip or stripline antenna layout. These reference layouts, however, will only be for one particular frequency range and one specific substrate. If the designer needs to use a different substrate or work at a different frequency Antenna, Magus can help get a well-designed antenna layout without the RF design engineer having to spend time getting stuck in the technical minutiae of antenna design or trial and error testing.

Where can people learn more about Antenna Magus?

Brian Woods is the Managing Director
of Magus Pty
If someone is interested, they can learn more about the latest release and download a trial version of Antenna Magus on our website. I recently presented a webinar that focused on using Antenna Magus to do the kind of problem-solving I've talked about here, specifically, for an RFID location tracking system in a Football stadium. That's available to watch that online.
Getting Ahead with Antenna Design – A Real-Time Location Tracking System

I will also be presenting at the E3 workshop in Washington, D.C. on May 11th, and my colleague Konrad Brand will be giving presentations on Antenna Magus at the CST European User Conference and Aerospace workshop.

Be sure to follow Antenna Magus on Facebook and Twitter 

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