ACM Prize in Computing 2018: Shwetak Patel

the ability to measure the data all around us can make our future more sustainable and healthier the research of Shweta Patel has freed energy and health measurement from dependence on expensive cumbersome devices Patel and his students developed highly creative ways to use sensors to get data from existing infrastructure in the home and use sensors and cell phones to monitor human health so every appliance and every water fixture has some side effect that happens when you use that particular appliance or fixture in the home Patel and his students recognize that electrical noise generated on home power lines could be observed and thus function as signals likewise the pressure waves generated by home plumbing systems could act as signals as well the team transformed these insights into innovative ways to transmit receive and analyze the resulting data the plumbing infrastructure and electrical appliances are form a network and we're basically tapping into that network at a particular location to see what's happening in there so it's akin to how you would think about monitoring network traffic in computing Patel found ways to clarify and identify which signal belonged to which appliance or fixture with his collaborators he then developed sensing and monitoring systems that required no structural renovation low-power sensors send data through the home network a base station identifies each device and monitors the network what we've really been trying to do is try to figure out how do we easily capture energy usage and water usage in the home this allows us to develop actionable feedback for people to basically make better decisions about energy usage Patel also has pioneered creative ways to use mobile phone sensors to extract clinical grade signals to monitor individual health screen for and manage disease the microphone for example could be used to monitor lung function the accelerometer gyro to screen non-invasively for osteoporosis the camera to assess neonatal jaundice non-invasively in newborns and even to look for concussions immediately after impact he also showed how mobile phone camera data could help screen for pancreatic cancer by correlating my new changes in eye color to the bilirubin content in the blood I've always been passionate about applying computing to the Grand Challenges I hope that students start to look at technology and computing as just a platform as a tool to do their creative work and being able to apply it to society for for a lot of good great things today the results of the research of Shweta Patel offer the possibility that every home and cell phone in the world can become effective tools for living a healthier more sustainable life

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