Kymeta gets funding for mTenna metamaterial antenna

Kymeta -a spin-out company of Intellectual Ventures- secured $12 million in funding for the development of Metamaterials Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T.)

Intellectual Ventures made the announcement on behalf of Kymeta. Bill Gates, Liberty Global, and Lux Capital have all invested in Kymeta’s mTenna MSA-T product line.

MSA-T technology relies upon metamaterial, artificially-created materials that can manipulate electromagnetic radiation in assorted ways. “Metamaterials were an early focus for IV," said Casey Tegreene, executive vice president and chief patent counsel at Intellectual Ventures, ”so the spinout of Kymeta marks an important milestone in our invention work.“

An mTenna dish is made from metamaterial using established lithographic techniques. mTenna uses metamaterial’s unique capabilities to electronically point and steer a radio signal at an orbiting satellite. mTenna can maintain a continuous broadband link even if the antenna platform is mobile (i.e. aircraft, car, boat.)

An mTenna dish is also thinner, lighter, more efficient, and cheaper than traditional antenna technology.

"As groundbreaking as it is,” says Mr. Tegreene, “the satellite antenna technology behind Kymeta only scratches the surface of what metamaterials can do. Thanks to nearly a decade of work with scientists like Sir John Pendry of Imperial College and Professor David Smith of Duke University, we have a portfolio of metamaterials inventions that cover a variety of industries and applications.”

Invention capital company Intellectual Ventures was founded in 2000. IV sells and licenses its extensive portfolio of IP assets to other companies. It also creates new companies such as nuclear reactor designer TerraPower and Kymeta that market new products based on IV inventions.

The mTenna antenna will provide high-speed Internet and other satellite broadband services for news reporters in the field, emergency responders in disaster areas, and average consumers who desire a connectivity alternative to public Wi-Fi and mobile broadband.

Kymeta plans to market mTenna to the aerospace, transportation, and maritime industries. A portable satellite hotspot product for individual users is also in the works. The mTenna products will become commercially available in 2015.