The University of Washington is certainly not lacking in the innovation department.
Gollakota, an assistant computer science professor, is in charge of the UW’s Networks and Wireless Lab. He was a lead researcher for a project called “Ambient Backscatter,” which featured small devices that communicate with one another and exchange data without a battery. Rather than generating a signal themselves, the ambient backscatter devices communicate by either absorbing or reflecting ambient signals, like those from a TV tower.
“Thee energy demands of wireless devices have held back the spread of cheap sensors that could be monitoring our homes, the environment, and physical infrastructure such as bridges,” the MIT Technology Review wrote. “Shyam Gollakota has an ingenious solution—a way for these wireless devices to operate without batteries.”
Last year, UW professor Julie Kientz was named to the MIT’s prestigious list. Other UW honorees include SNUPI co-founder Shwetak Patel, an associate professor of computer science and engineering and of electrical engineering, and Abraham Flaxman, an assistant professor of global health.