30 March 2012
HUNTSVILLE, Ala.–Innovative products often are born after looking at a problem from a different angle.
That's how Paul Gierow and his employees at GATR Technologies did things. Gierow took his experience in designing space deployables (big things) and applied to it the unique problem of small, portable antennae.
Making effective portable antennae is not just about size, weight and power. It's about the fundamental design and the crucial demand for stability in the field.
A traditional satellite dish in the field is susceptible to wind; in fact it's probably as effective in catching wind as a sail. And no matter how much you anchor it, traditional portable dish designs can be pushed just a few millimeters (and lose the signal) in strong winds.
Gierow looked at two basic design needs: Portability and stability and approached the problem from a different angle. What if you could come up with a design that solved both those problems elegantly? And to top it off, what if you figured out a way to power it using portable solar cells?
If you could, then the military and non-governmental agencies helping relief efforts would be big-time customers. And that's what GATR has done with a design that looks like a big exercise ball. Listen to Gierow explain his design, which draws 120W and fits into two portable suitcases: