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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar To Receive Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award For Her Invention

  • IWB Post
  •  September 12, 2018

Studying at the University of Washington in the US, Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, an India-born woman scholar, has come up with a technology that turns an ordinary smartphone into an active sonar system. It then becomes capable of detecting physiological activities, like movement and respiration, without any physical contact.

For her remarkable discovery, she had been selected for the 2018 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar award. She designed the device by taking inspiration from bats, who navigate in the dark by sending out acoustic signals, which reflects back from objects in their way, allowing them to identify it.

The device transmits inaudible sound signals from the phone’s speaker and tracks their reflections off the human body, which are then analyzed using a combination of algorithms and signal processing techniques.

“Rajalakshmi has a knack for selecting problems with high social impact,” says Dr Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor at the Allen School.

“Our Young Scholar award attracts the world’s brightest young communications researchers,” said Dr Vinton Cerf, Chairman of the Marconi Society and ‘Father of the Internet’.

“I always wanted to find a way to detect physiological signals, like breathing and heart rate, because they are the most commonly used signals for healthcare applications,” said Ms Nandakumar.


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