A world expert in antenna and electromagnetics will today predict the widespread use of low-cost mobile broadband services on board planes in the foreseeable future.

Professor Yang Hao from Queen Mary University of London is the winner of the £300,000 Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize and will give a lecture on this subject at the IET in central London today.

Professor Hao’s research is focussed on developing a new generation of antennas with better aesthetics and fundamentally novel designs, which will allow them to be used in new and exciting ways, particularly in satellite communications for many industries including aviation and aerospace.

An exciting element of his work is that airline passengers will be able to enjoy low cost, high-throughput satellite communications. This will enable passengers to enjoy low-cost and broadband internet services when they travel by plane.

Today, air passengers have to switch their mobile phones to ‘Flight Mode’ and pay an additional charge to access data on their devices. Professor Hao’s research will enable a seamless broadband experience from land to air, at no additional cost.

Professor Hao said: “The IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize will push the boundaries of our research to the next level, out of the lab towards real engineering applications and industry.

“Our goal is to make low cost smart antenna systems, an engineering reality that can be enjoyed by everyone, from professionals in satellite communications to air passengers who want to stay connected on their mobile phone or devices.”

Professor Hao’s predicts the widespread use of this technology within a short time horizon and is leveraging strategic local partners to collectively redefine satellite transmission theory with cutting edge antenna design.

Sir John O’Reilly, Chair of the IET’s Selection Committee for the prize, said: “Professor Hao is awarded the Prize in recognition of his research achievements in microwaves, antennas and, in particular, metamaterial antenna innovations drawing inspiration from transformation optics.

“We hope the prize will become a springboard for propelling Professor Hao’s research to even higher levels, while providing distinct economic benefits to his partners and to society in general.”

Professor Hao will give a talk about his research at the IET A F Harvey Prize Lecture today at the IET in central London. For more information, please visit www.theiet.org/harvey.