Home People Shwetak Patel wins MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award

Shwetak Patel wins MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award

UW’s Shwetak Patel, a faculty member in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has been named a 2011 MacArthur Fellow – colloquially known as the MacArthur “Genius” Award.

Each year, the MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships of $500,000 to roughly twenty “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.”

Shwetak’s research interests are in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, and User Interface Software and Technology.  He is particularly interested in developing easy-to-deploy sensing technologies and approaches for activity recognition and energy monitoring applications.

Shwetak’s breakthrough team is developing  a system that uses the human body as an antenna. The technology could one day be used to turn on lights, buy a ticket at a train station kiosk, or interact with a world of other computer applications. And no elaborate instruments, like the instrumentation of Microsoft’s Kinect, which uses infrared light and cameras to track motion, would be required.

Shwetak is a founder of Zensi, Inc., a demand side energy monitoring solutions provider, which was acquired by Belkin, Inc. in 2010. [24×7]