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Shwetak N. Patel

  • Associate Professor

Appointments

Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor, Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering
CTO, Global Innovation Exchange (GIX)

Biography

Shwetak N. Patel is the Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, where he directs his research group, the Ubicomp Lab. His research interests are in the areas of human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, sensor-enabled embedded systems and user interface software and technology. His work includes developing new sensing systems, energy and water sensing, mobile health, and developing new interaction technologies. Patel was a founder of Zensi, Inc., a residential energy monitoring company, which was acquired by Belkin, Inc in 2010. He is also a co-founder of a low-power wireless sensor platform company called SNUPI Technologies and a consumer home sensing product called WallyHome. WallyHome was acquired by Sears in 2015. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008 and BS in Computer Science in 2003. Patel is a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (2011), Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship (2011), Sloan Fellowship (2012), MIT TR-35 Award (2009), World Economic Forum Young Global Scientist Award (2013), NSF Career Award (2013) and the Presidential PECASE Award (2016). He was named top innovator of the year by Seattle Business Magazine and was named Newsmaker of the year by Seattle Business Journal in 2011. His past work was also honored by the New York Times as a top technology of the year in 2005.

Research Interests

Embedded systems, sensors, human-computer interaction, health, sustainability, user interface technologies, signal processing and machine learning.

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                    [post_content] => Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science Engineering & Electrical Engineering Shwetak Patel was spotlighted in the first episode of GeekWire's Health Tech Podcast. Through his startup Senosis Health, Patel is transforming smartphones into medical devices.

GeekWire's podcast focuses on the stories of digital health innovation and the fantastic minds that make it happen. For Patel, his re-purposing of smartphones to mimic medical devices not only illustrates innovative vision; it also promotes societally-focused design.

Current medical equipment that measures disease function is costly and is not always easily accessible, especially for resource-poor nations. As smartphones become increasingly more ubiquitous, the functionality of a smartphone as a medical device becomes beneficial.

“Our idea has been: How do we repurpose the sensors that are already on a mobile phone to do similar things that you would find in a clinician’s office or at a hospital? And so, we’re looking at how to use microphones, the camera, the flash, the accelerometer, the gyro in new ways that people never used them before,” Patel said in the GeekWire article.

Patel has innovated these standard smartphone applications to build an arsenal of health monitoring apps, including Bilicam, which detects newborn jaundice, SpiroCall, which measures lung function and HemaApp, which records blood hemoglobin levels. These devices support monitoring for a range of diseases and conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and anemia.

Listen to more of the interview below:

https://soundcloud.com/geekwirehealthtech/diagnosed-by-smartphone

----

Information for this news was adapted from a recent article in GeekWire.

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Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering Shwetak Patel was named an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow. ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. Out of 53 computer scientists from a dozen countries, Patel is one of those selected for recognition. The award was conferred based on a recipient's outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences and practices of computing and impact on the broader community.

ACM President Vicki Hanson describes the ACM selection as the highest honor to a computer scientist or computer engineer: “As nearly 100,000 computing professionals are members of our association, to be selected to join the top one percent is truly an honor. Fellows are chosen by their peers and hail from leading universities, corporations and research labs throughout the world. Their inspiration, insights and dedication bring immeasurable benefits that improve lives and help drive the global economy. ”

Although he is at an early point in his career, Patel has excelled in his field. His ACM peers chose to recognize him for his “contributions to sustainability sensing, low-power wireless sensing and mobile health.” Within the last year, Patel has received several prestigious awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) from U.S. President Barack Obama and an Outstanding Collaborator Award from Microsoft Research. In previous years, he has received the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (2011), Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship (2011), Sloan Fellowship (2012), MIT TR-35 Award (2009), World Economic Forum Young Global Scientist Award (2013) and NSF Career Award (2013). He was named the top innovator of the year by Seattle Business Magazine and was named Newsmaker of the year by Seattle Business Journal in 2011.

Patel is the directer of the UbiComp Lab. His lab focuses on the development of innovative sensing systems for real world applications in health, sustainability and novel interactions. Patel has utilized the ubiquity of cellphones to transform mobile devices into a life-saving medical tool. He and his students have used sophisticated sensing components to optimize a phone’s built-in microphone, camera and other features to provide health care delivery in low-resource settings. Two of these applications are SpiroCall and HemaApp. The former measures lung function over a phone call, while the latter monitors hemoglobin levels through noninvasive methods.

In June, ACM will formally recognize Patel and his peers at the annual Awards Banquet in San Francisco.

[post_title] => Professor Shwetak Patel Named ACM Fellow [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => professor-shwetak-patel-named-acm-fellow [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-10 15:56:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-10 23:56:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=8708 [menu_order] => 63 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5185 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2016-07-15 20:32:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-15 20:32:50 [post_content] => ScreenShot2016-07-14at4.30.11PMElectrical engineering professors, Dr. Georg Seelig and Dr. Shwetak Patel, received the Microsoft Research’s 2016 Outstanding Collaborator Award. The award highlights and celebrates the amazing academics who have worked with the company on research initiatives. Since its founding in 1991, Microsoft Research (MSR) is dedicated to a model of open collaboration with academia. For Seelig and Patel, this partnership has turned into a sizable portfolio of research projects. Most recently, Seelig’s work on DNA storage with MSR and the UW’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering has gained international recognition for stretching the limits of previous research. MSR commends the long-term significance of this collaboration, noting that next steps will involve implementation for disease detection and diagnosis. Patel’s partnership with MSR is deep-rooted, beginning when he entered the University of Washington and with his Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship. Patel has steered several research and leadership initiatives with MSR, including the groundbreaking development of the UW-Tsinghua-Microsoft Global Innovation Exchange. He’s demonstrated a deep dedication to student enrichment by sending over 10 of his UbiComp Lab students to MSR for internships. Congratulations to Computer Science and Engineering Professor Ed Lazowska for also receiving an MSR Outstanding Collaborator Award. Lazowska is honored with the award for his continued dedication to the impact of research and development of collaborative initiatives. [post_title] => Microsoft's Prestigious Collaborator Award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ee-professors-receive-microsofts-prestigious-collaborator-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-15 15:27:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-15 23:27:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://hedy.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=5185 [menu_order] => 100 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4849 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2016-05-16 22:04:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-16 22:04:48 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_8710" align="alignleft" width="386"]Testing SpiroSmart in clinics in India and Bangladesh. Testing SpiroCall in a clinic in Bangladesh.[/caption] For individuals who manage chronic lung disease, it’s vitally important to be able to easily obtain accurate data to measure their lung function. Now, patients can do just that by simply picking up any phone anywhere in the world — thanks to a tool called SpiroCall. Developed by a team of researchers lead by Shwetak Patel, Washington Research Foundation Endowed Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering, SpiroCall is a new health sensing tool that can accurately measure lung function over a simple phone call.  Rather than traveling to a clinic to use a doctor’s spirometer, all a patient has to do with SpiroCall is dial a toll-free number and breathe into the phone. SpiroCall uses a phone’s built-in microphone and standard audio channels, so it works with any phone from smartphone to landline — but there were challenges.  "We had to account for the fact that the sound quality you get over a phone line is worse," said co-author Elliot Saba, electrical engineering doctoral student. "You can imagine how listening to someone play a song over a phone line would sound compared to listening to it on your music app — there's a similar difference with a spirometry test." To compensate for less-than-ideal sound quality, the team was able to combine multiple algorithms and other critical factors to provide readings that resulted in reliable lung function estimates despite degraded audio technology. SpiroCall has immediate applications in rural communities and developing countries around the world, where medical clinics may be more difficult to access. The research team will be presenting their paper at the upcoming Association for Computing Machinery’s CHI2016 conference this month. See also: [post_title] => Measuring Lung Function Over the Phone with SpiroCall [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => measuring-lung-function-over-the-phone-with-spirocall [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-08 13:47:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-08 21:47:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://hedy.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=4849 [menu_order] => 121 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1696 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2015-07-07 19:47:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-07 19:47:35 [post_content] => Developed in the labs of UW EE Professors Matt Reynolds andShwetak Patel, SideSwipe technology was featured in the July issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. SideSwipe enables the entire space around a smartphone to become interactive using gesture control. The phone’s own wireless transmissions are used to sense and respond to specific hand gestures. This enables it to work even when the smartphone is out of sight in a pocket or bag. Early testing indicates the new technology, which can be easily built into future smartphones and tablets, recognizes gestures with 87% accuracy. Read the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine feature. Congratulations, Matt and Shwetak! 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Professor in Computer Science Engineering & Electrical Engineering Shwetak Patel was spotlighted in the first episode of GeekWire's Health Tech Podcast. Through his startup Senosis Health, Patel is transforming smartphones into medical devices. GeekWire's podcast focuses on the stories of digital health innovation and the fantastic minds that make it happen. For Patel, his re-purposing of smartphones to mimic medical devices not only illustrates innovative vision; it also promotes societally-focused design. Current medical equipment that measures disease function is costly and is not always easily accessible, especially for resource-poor nations. As smartphones become increasingly more ubiquitous, the functionality of a smartphone as a medical device becomes beneficial. “Our idea has been: How do we repurpose the sensors that are already on a mobile phone to do similar things that you would find in a clinician’s office or at a hospital? And so, we’re looking at how to use microphones, the camera, the flash, the accelerometer, the gyro in new ways that people never used them before,” Patel said in the GeekWire article. Patel has innovated these standard smartphone applications to build an arsenal of health monitoring apps, including Bilicam, which detects newborn jaundice, SpiroCall, which measures lung function and HemaApp, which records blood hemoglobin levels. These devices support monitoring for a range of diseases and conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and anemia. Listen to more of the interview below: https://soundcloud.com/geekwirehealthtech/diagnosed-by-smartphone

----

Information for this news was adapted from a recent article in GeekWire.

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Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering Shwetak Patel was named an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow. ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. Out of 53 computer scientists from a dozen countries, Patel is one of those selected for recognition. The award was conferred based on a recipient's outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences and practices of computing and impact on the broader community.

ACM President Vicki Hanson describes the ACM selection as the highest honor to a computer scientist or computer engineer: “As nearly 100,000 computing professionals are members of our association, to be selected to join the top one percent is truly an honor. Fellows are chosen by their peers and hail from leading universities, corporations and research labs throughout the world. Their inspiration, insights and dedication bring immeasurable benefits that improve lives and help drive the global economy. ”

Although he is at an early point in his career, Patel has excelled in his field. His ACM peers chose to recognize him for his “contributions to sustainability sensing, low-power wireless sensing and mobile health.” Within the last year, Patel has received several prestigious awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) from U.S. President Barack Obama and an Outstanding Collaborator Award from Microsoft Research. In previous years, he has received the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (2011), Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship (2011), Sloan Fellowship (2012), MIT TR-35 Award (2009), World Economic Forum Young Global Scientist Award (2013) and NSF Career Award (2013). He was named the top innovator of the year by Seattle Business Magazine and was named Newsmaker of the year by Seattle Business Journal in 2011.

Patel is the directer of the UbiComp Lab. His lab focuses on the development of innovative sensing systems for real world applications in health, sustainability and novel interactions. Patel has utilized the ubiquity of cellphones to transform mobile devices into a life-saving medical tool. He and his students have used sophisticated sensing components to optimize a phone’s built-in microphone, camera and other features to provide health care delivery in low-resource settings. Two of these applications are SpiroCall and HemaApp. The former measures lung function over a phone call, while the latter monitors hemoglobin levels through noninvasive methods.

In June, ACM will formally recognize Patel and his peers at the annual Awards Banquet in San Francisco.

[post_title] => Professor Shwetak Patel Named ACM Fellow [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => professor-shwetak-patel-named-acm-fellow [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-10 15:56:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-10 23:56:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=8708 [menu_order] => 63 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5185 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2016-07-15 20:32:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-15 20:32:50 [post_content] => ScreenShot2016-07-14at4.30.11PMElectrical engineering professors, Dr. Georg Seelig and Dr. Shwetak Patel, received the Microsoft Research’s 2016 Outstanding Collaborator Award. The award highlights and celebrates the amazing academics who have worked with the company on research initiatives. Since its founding in 1991, Microsoft Research (MSR) is dedicated to a model of open collaboration with academia. For Seelig and Patel, this partnership has turned into a sizable portfolio of research projects. Most recently, Seelig’s work on DNA storage with MSR and the UW’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering has gained international recognition for stretching the limits of previous research. MSR commends the long-term significance of this collaboration, noting that next steps will involve implementation for disease detection and diagnosis. Patel’s partnership with MSR is deep-rooted, beginning when he entered the University of Washington and with his Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship. Patel has steered several research and leadership initiatives with MSR, including the groundbreaking development of the UW-Tsinghua-Microsoft Global Innovation Exchange. He’s demonstrated a deep dedication to student enrichment by sending over 10 of his UbiComp Lab students to MSR for internships. Congratulations to Computer Science and Engineering Professor Ed Lazowska for also receiving an MSR Outstanding Collaborator Award. Lazowska is honored with the award for his continued dedication to the impact of research and development of collaborative initiatives. [post_title] => Microsoft's Prestigious Collaborator Award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ee-professors-receive-microsofts-prestigious-collaborator-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-15 15:27:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-15 23:27:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://hedy.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=5185 [menu_order] => 100 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4849 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2016-05-16 22:04:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-16 22:04:48 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_8710" align="alignleft" width="386"]Testing SpiroSmart in clinics in India and Bangladesh. Testing SpiroCall in a clinic in Bangladesh.[/caption] For individuals who manage chronic lung disease, it’s vitally important to be able to easily obtain accurate data to measure their lung function. Now, patients can do just that by simply picking up any phone anywhere in the world — thanks to a tool called SpiroCall. Developed by a team of researchers lead by Shwetak Patel, Washington Research Foundation Endowed Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering, SpiroCall is a new health sensing tool that can accurately measure lung function over a simple phone call.  Rather than traveling to a clinic to use a doctor’s spirometer, all a patient has to do with SpiroCall is dial a toll-free number and breathe into the phone. SpiroCall uses a phone’s built-in microphone and standard audio channels, so it works with any phone from smartphone to landline — but there were challenges.  "We had to account for the fact that the sound quality you get over a phone line is worse," said co-author Elliot Saba, electrical engineering doctoral student. "You can imagine how listening to someone play a song over a phone line would sound compared to listening to it on your music app — there's a similar difference with a spirometry test." To compensate for less-than-ideal sound quality, the team was able to combine multiple algorithms and other critical factors to provide readings that resulted in reliable lung function estimates despite degraded audio technology. SpiroCall has immediate applications in rural communities and developing countries around the world, where medical clinics may be more difficult to access. The research team will be presenting their paper at the upcoming Association for Computing Machinery’s CHI2016 conference this month. See also: [post_title] => Measuring Lung Function Over the Phone with SpiroCall [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => measuring-lung-function-over-the-phone-with-spirocall [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-08 13:47:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-08 21:47:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://hedy.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=4849 [menu_order] => 121 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1696 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2015-07-07 19:47:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-07 19:47:35 [post_content] => Developed in the labs of UW EE Professors Matt Reynolds andShwetak Patel, SideSwipe technology was featured in the July issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. SideSwipe enables the entire space around a smartphone to become interactive using gesture control. The phone’s own wireless transmissions are used to sense and respond to specific hand gestures. This enables it to work even when the smartphone is out of sight in a pocket or bag. Early testing indicates the new technology, which can be easily built into future smartphones and tablets, recognizes gestures with 87% accuracy. Read the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine feature. Congratulations, Matt and Shwetak! [post_title] => Matt Reynolds and Shwetak Patel's SideSwipe is the Future of Smartphones [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => matt-reynolds-and-shwetak-patels-sideswipe-is-the-future-of-smartphones [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-22 21:58:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-22 21:58:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://hedy.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=1696 [menu_order] => 822 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10718 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2017-06-06 15:37:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-06 22:37:16 [post_content] => Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science Engineering & Electrical Engineering Shwetak Patel was spotlighted in the first episode of GeekWire's Health Tech Podcast. Through his startup Senosis Health, Patel is transforming smartphones into medical devices. GeekWire's podcast focuses on the stories of digital health innovation and the fantastic minds that make it happen. For Patel, his re-purposing of smartphones to mimic medical devices not only illustrates innovative vision; it also promotes societally-focused design. Current medical equipment that measures disease function is costly and is not always easily accessible, especially for resource-poor nations. As smartphones become increasingly more ubiquitous, the functionality of a smartphone as a medical device becomes beneficial. “Our idea has been: How do we repurpose the sensors that are already on a mobile phone to do similar things that you would find in a clinician’s office or at a hospital? And so, we’re looking at how to use microphones, the camera, the flash, the accelerometer, the gyro in new ways that people never used them before,” Patel said in the GeekWire article. Patel has innovated these standard smartphone applications to build an arsenal of health monitoring apps, including Bilicam, which detects newborn jaundice, SpiroCall, which measures lung function and HemaApp, which records blood hemoglobin levels. These devices support monitoring for a range of diseases and conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and anemia. Listen to more of the interview below: https://soundcloud.com/geekwirehealthtech/diagnosed-by-smartphone

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Information for this news was adapted from a recent article in GeekWire.

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Shwetak N. Patel Headshot
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Education

  • Ph.D., Computer Science, 2008
    Georgia Institute of Technology
  • BS, Computer Science, 2003
    Georgia Institute of Technology