Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) Lab @ University of Washington

January 13, 2014

The Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) research lab at the University of Washington focuses on solving interesting and socially meaningful problems using a mix of hardware and software applications. This cutting edge research is led by Professor Shwetak Patel. He leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The researchers solve problems by applying expertise in sensing, signal processing, embedded systems, circuits, and human-computer interaction.

The UbiComp lab focuses on four areas of ubiquitous computing:

Novel interaction techniques: With the growing number of computers around us embedded into the environment, there is a need to interact with these computers beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse.

Sustainability sensing: Using computer science, machine learning and signal processing can give homeowners information about not just how they are consuming energy, but also where that energy is going and how it is being used.

Low-power sensing: The so-called “smart home” has been an elusive goal due in large part to a lack of sufficient battery life in sensors. The UbiComp lab is solving this problem by creating low-power sensors with battery lives that last decades. This allows sensors to be placed throughout a house’s walls, floors, crawl spaces and attic, allowing the detection of dangers such as mold, humidity, and leaks.

Health sensing: Computing technology is being used to improve the quality and cost of healthcare. An example of this is “SpiroSmart,” a mobile phone based application that turns the phone into a spirometer.

“This research is important because it really shows what the impact of what computer science and electrical engineering can have on people’s daily lives. We’re doing this great work in the lab but a lot of times people can’t relate to it in their daily lives and what we’re doing is trying to solve real applications so that people can actually benefit from this work.” says Shwetak Patel, Director of the UbiComp Lab.

For more information on the UbiComp lab, please visit: http://ubicomplab.cs.washington.edu/