Rising Stars 2020:

Colleen Josephson

PhD Candidate

Stanford University

Areas of Interest

  • Cyber-Physical Systems and Design Automation
  • Energy
  • Operating Systems and Networking
  • Signal Processing
  • Sensor networks


Techniques to enable low-power ubiquitous sensing


The goal of my research is enabling ubiquitous sensing to help humanity make better decisions. Dense deployments of sensors let us make measurements at a greater density and finer granularity than would ever be feasible with human observation alone, and can even quantify things that human senses cannot reliably estimate (e.g. soil moisture). To that end, I have explored how RF backscatter can serve as an indispensable tool for designing low-power sensor networks. Low-power techniques allow sensors to be deployed where there is insufficient power or communication infrastructure for traditional sensor nodes. My work includes designing novel sensing paradigms for agriculture, inventing techniques for ultra-low power communication in indoor sensor networks, and exploiting non-traditional energy sources, such as microbes, for sustainable sensing. Future opportunities to leverage sensing for social good include sensor fusion, mobile sensing and augmented environments.


Colleen Josephson is a PhD Candidate in the Electrical Engineering department at Stanford University, where she is advised by Sachin Katti and Keith Winstein. She received her SB and MEng degrees from MIT, where she worked with Muriel Medard. Her research interests include wireless communications and sensing systems, and she envisions a future where we can effortlessly sense the planet. She is a former Microsoft Research intern, a finalist in the 2019 MIT Bay Area Research Slam, and a recipient of the Stanford Graduate Fellowship, as well as the Schlumberger Innovation and D.E. Shaw Exploration fellowships.

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