Dr. Shwetak N Patel

Digital Library

ACM Prize in Computing

USA - 2018


For contributions to creative and practical sensing systems for sustainability and health.

Measuring is central to understanding human behavior, and then influencing that behavior to improve our energy consumption, health, and quality of life.  Until Shwetak Patel's work, most systems for monitoring energy and health required expensive and cumbersome specialized devices, precluding practical widespread adoption.

Patel and his students found highly creative ways to leverage existing infrastructure to make affordable and accurate monitoring a practical reality.  For example, Patel and his students observed that home appliances such as the central heating and air conditioning, washer, dryer, lights, and electronics generate "noise" on home power lines. This "noise" is actually signal, and each appliance has a unique signal that can be extracted to make it observable. He made a similar observation about the pressure waves that showers, wash basins, toilets, and dishwashers generate in a home plumbing systems.  In health monitoring, Patel showed how mobile phones can deliver clinical grade signals to measure lung capacity, detect jaundice in newborns, monitor hemoglobin in the blood, and other health conditions. 

These breakthroughs required innovative advances in transmitting, receiving, analyzing, and creative ways to present data to users. Patel quickly turned his team's research contributions into real-world deployments. Many utilities, municipalities, and products are using his technology to provide detailed energy reports. His low-power home sensing technology has led to new types of products, and his mobile-health applications are in clinical trials involving many thousands of patients.

Press Release

ACM Fellows

USA - 2016


For contributions to sustainability sensing, low-power wireless sensing, and mobile health.

Press Release