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Researcher Monitors Appliances' Energy Use Wirelessly

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MacArthur "genius" fellow, Shwetak Patel, is working to make sensors to relay information from appliances, with the goal of saving energy and improving daily life. (Image credit: University of Washington)

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Shwetak Patel would like to change your home, and make sensors tell you amazing things from every appliance. His creative thinking spurred the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to call him a "genius" in 2011. He has been a University of Washington assistant professor for three years; has launched and sold a startup company; was named a top innovator under the age of 35 by MIT Technology Review; was named one of the state's innovators of the year; and has won a prestigious Microsoft Research faculty fellowship.

Much of his work focuses on low-cost and easy-to-deploy devices that measure household energy consumption and activity sensing. His work also extends to mobile health sensing and new computer interface techniques. Patel received a Bachelor's of Science in 2003 and a Ph.D. in 2008 from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Since 2008, he has been an assistant professor in the Departments of Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington.

Name: Shwetak Patel Age: 29 Institution: University of Washington Field of Study: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering

Editor's Note: The researchers depicted in ScienceLives articles have been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.