Shyamnath Gollakota

Digital Library

ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award

USA - 2020


For contributions to the use of wireless signals in creating novel applications, including battery-free communications, health monitoring, gesture recognition, and bio-based wireless sensing

Prof. Gollakota defined the technology referred to today as ambient backscatter --- a mechanism by which an unpowered, battery-less device can harvest existing wireless signals (such as broadcast TV or WiFi) in our environments for energy and use it to transmit encoded data. In addition, he has developed techniques that can use sonar signals from smartphones to support numerous healthcare applications. Examples include detection and diagnosis of breathing anomalies such as apnea, detection of ear infections, and even detection of life-threatening opioid overdoses.

Such efforts can truly transform the way healthcare systems can be designed and delivered in the future, and some of these efforts are now being commercialized for real-world use.

More recently Prof. Gollakota has opened up a new field of extremely lightweight mobile sensors and controllers attached to insects, including demonstrating the ability to wireless stream video data from the back of tiny insects. This could be a key step to creating the Internet of biological things and using insects as a delivery vehicle for mobile sensors.

Prof. Gollakota has shown that he is a creative force in his field of wireless computer networks and has developed new technologies that are disrupting the field. His work has revolutionized and re-imagined what one can do using wireless systems and has a feel of realizing science fiction!

As a result of his pioneering work in ambient backscattering he is being awarded the 2020 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award.

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