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UW CSE’s Rajalakshmi Nandakumar wins CoMotion Graduate Innovator Award

Rajalakshmi NandakumarUW CSE Ph.D. student Rajalakshmi Nandakumar has been recognized with the 2016 CoMotion Graduate Innovator Award. The award, which was announced during the College of Engineering Awards ceremony yesterday, honors a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher “who best demonstrates creative problem-solving on the road to moving innovative ideas to real-world impact.”

Nandakumar works with CSE professor Shyam Gollakota in the Networks & Mobile Systems Lab on the development of applications in mobile health and human-computer interaction. According to Gollakota, “Rajalakshmi is amazing—she is single-handedly leading our efforts in acoustic-based sensing.”

Those efforts include ApneaApp, which turns a smartphone into an active sonar system for contactless diagnosis of sleep apnea, and FingerIO, a novel finger-tracking system that enables users to interact with smartphones and smartwatches by gesturing on any nearby surface.

“Rajalakshmi is a driving force behind getting ApneaApp out of the lab and into the hands of consumers,” said Deborah Alterman, the CoMotion technology manager who nominated Nandakumar for the award. “After completing the initial research and publications, she wrote a complex real-time data viewer so that industry partners could see the full promise of this technology and spent countless hours working on industry evaluation and testing.

“Rajalakshmi excels at both technical creativity and dedication to maximizing the societal impact of her work.”

Congratulations, Rajalakshmi!