Want Faster Data, Less Dropped Calls and No Death Grip? Get Yourself a RF MEMS-Packing Phone

By Sam Gibbs on at

A tiny mechanical chip might be the answer to your crappy signal, dropped calls and death-grip woes, and it’s already making its way into phones right now.

The problem with handsets getting smaller is that they’re reducing the room for the crucial cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooh, and GPS antennas. Apple went ahead and slapped it on the side of the phone, and we all know how well that went.

Each antenna used for each service has to be specifically tuned for the job. In the case of the iPhone 4, bridging two antennas caused the cellular antenna to be de-tuned and lose signal dropping your calls and giving you no service -- the infamous death grip.

What if you could use just one antenna, and tune it on the fly? That’s where these tiny mechanical chips called Radio Frequency Micro-Electrical Mechanical Systems, or RF MEMS to their friends, come in.

The chips contain mechanical capacitors that are physically changed to alter the amount of electrical charge they can hold, tuning the antenna. This could enable one antenna to be used to for all radios, or of course, allow re-tuning of several antenna if they’re suffering signal issues (like your hand being placed over the top of them). The Samsung Focus Flash in the US is apparently already RF MEMS-enabled, so with a bit of luck we’ll see them in some UK-destined phones soon.

With an RF MEMS chip in your phone it could bring an end to signal issues, at least in good signal areas. Less dropped calls, better signal, and better data rates -- which frankly, is all I’m really after. Who calls anyone these days anyway? I do almost anything to avoid those antiquated awkward vocal communications. [WiSpry via The Register]

Image credit: No signal from Shutterstock