Ph.D. student Aaron Parks has been awarded the 2015 Google Ph.D. Fellowshipin Mobile Networking. The two-year stipend of $34,000, with a possible third year extension, will allow Parks to complete his proposed thesis work on combining multiband RF energy scavenging and ambient backscatter communication.
Each year, 15 students in North America are awarded Google Fellowships. Each eligible university is invited to submit a maximum of two student nominations for fellowship consideration. Most schools go several years between awards.
“The program is very, very competitive,” said Michael Rennaker, Google Program Manager. “UW has had more students in the last three rounds than any other university by quite a large margin.”
Parks, a fourth year Ph.D. student, works under the guidance of Associate Professor Joshua Smith in the Sensor Systems Laboratory. The focus of his latest work is exploring technologies for a battery-free Internet of Things, such as RF energy harvesting and low power communication. Parks co-authored three papers in the ACM SIGCOMM conference (including the 2013 best paper) on the topic of Ambient Backscatter, an ultra-low-power passive method for wireless communication. He also published novel work on multiband RF energy harvesting in the IEEE RFID 2014 conference and was awarded the best paper. Parks leads the development team for the WISP, an open-source and hackable battery-free platform that helps researchers rapidly prototype battery-free sensing, computation and communication systems.