SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Doug Masi, Mat Mathews, Newswire, David Smith

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Practical Origami--Fractal’s Folded Antennas See 10th Anniversary

It started as child’s play. In 1996, Nathan Cohen took his son’s beach sand molds and coated them with copper tape, making a new class of 3D structures: folded antennas. Cohen, a physicist and inventor, immediately realized what he had done: “These were Origami antennas, folded to define new shapes. It was an inspired geek moment.”

Origami antennas, using pleats (folds), were found to make some shapes that actually shrunk the size and increased the performance of conventional antenna designs. Notes Cohen:” Some fractal antennas are Origami antenna. Our experience, at Fractal Antenna Systems, prepared us for such a surprise. We found government customers who understood the glaring benefit. We are proud of those uses, now far more than a decade old. Basically origami and fractals make superior 3D antennas.”

With patents in-hand, the firm also went after commercial markets, starting in 2004. ” We were ahead of the need for smaller, wideband antennas. Now everything needs wideband. Today, our Origami antennas, protected by redoes, can be found in schools; municipal buildings; airports; malls; skyscrapers; train stations; casinos; universities; and many other public places.” Few products have a 10 year life cycle, and even fewer have ‘hockey stick’ growth after 10 years. ”We always tell people we are a decade ahead. Here is a shining example.”

Cohen notes that many researchers are now ’re-discovering’ folded antennas. “Outside validation is always welcome. But if you take a look at the path, it has long since marked our footprints in stone.”

The advent of 3D printers has further expanded the realm of folded antennas. Adds Cohen: “We hold the IP on 3D folded antennas and processes to make them, and have just shifted 100% of our folded antenna parts to 3D printing, keeping essential manufacturing processes in-house and in the U.S. This should brighten the future of Origami antennas many-fold.”


Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. ( ) supplies products for the world's most demanding wireless, and electromagnetic applications. Backed by over three dozen U.S. and international patents, plus dozens of patents pending, Fractal Antenna Systems is the recognized pioneer in fractal technology, with extensive research and field experience over 19 years in business. The company is a privately held and headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.

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