Scotland business

'Smart antenna' firm Sofant Technologies wins EU funding

Image caption Sofant Technologies says its technology has the potential to greatly improve mobile device connectivity without draining batteries

A Scottish firm which has developed a miniature "smart" wi-fi antenna for mobile devices has secured more than £1.5m in European funding to help it take its technology to market.

University of Edinburgh spin-out Sofant Technologies has spent 10 years researching and developing its antenna.

It has a steerable beam which locks onto the strongest signal available at any given time.

The company said the technology could "vastly extend" wi-fi signal reach.

It also claimed it could reduce power drain on smart phones.

Sofant chief operating officer Ahmed El-Rayis said: "We call this a smart antenna because it has been designed to seek out the strongest signal and focus on it, rather than the current model that constantly radiates energy in all directions.

"We have been researching and planning this project for 10 years to perfect the design. This funding will enable us to take the product to foundry and we're currently asking for tenders.

"We're very excited about this new funding and see it as a real opportunity to impact on the future direction of the global smart phone industry and to create a market-leading company.

"We aim to have this product available to mobile phone manufacturers by 2018."

The European funding was awarded through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme, which helps small and medium-sized firms to develop innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition.

Dr Bernd Reichert, from the EU's Executive Agency for SMEs, said: "Sofant's technology is a prime example of disruptive innovation.

"They have identified a need in the market within a sector willing to pay for an added value product."

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