Seminars & Colloquia

Nivedita Arora

Georgia Institute of Technology

"Towards Sustainable Computational Material and Things"

Thursday February 09, 2023 10:00 AM
Location: 3211, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: We are moving towards a generation of trillion internet-connected things, yet we have evaded weaving computing into everyday objects and surfaces. Today’s IoT devices are bulky, expensive, and battery-powered, making them toxic to the environment and reliable on maintenance. We can address these limitations through new form factors and focusing on sustainability in terms of power, cost, and e-waste as system design parameters.


To build sustainable computational materials and things, this talk re-thinks the computing stack from the bottom by going beyond off-the-shelf device components and exploring novel materials, fabrication methods, and device designs. I will showcase this research with an example of an easy-to-retrofit, inexpensive, battery-free sticky note that can wirelessly sense human interactions like speech, movement, and touch and provide feedback by harvesting power from the surroundings to operate. I discuss the potential application of sustainable stickers in interaction sensing, mobile health, and infrastructure monitoring. Finally, I will elaborate on how designing sustainable computational materials requires an iterative cross-disciplinary research approach encompassing device fabrication, low-power systems, and design. I will conclude by laying a path forward for systems, toolkits, and applications that help progress this ambitious research agenda.

Short Bio: Nivedita Arora is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science, advised by Gregory Abowd and Thad Starner at GT's Ubicomp Lab. She is passionate about designing sustainability-first computing systems and exploring their applications. She works at the intersection of novel materials, low-power embedded systems, human-computer interaction, and design. Her research has been published in top-tier ACM Systems and HCI venues such as IMWUT, UIST, and MobiSys. It has won several recognitions, including research highlights in Communications of the ACM and SIGMOBILE's GetMobile Magazine, two best papers (ACM IMWUT, ACM SenSys-ENSsys), and two best posters awards (MobiSys, UIST). In addition, she was the recipient of the ACM UbiComp Gaetano Borriello Outstanding Student Award (2021), Georgia Tech's GVU Foley Scholar (2021), Outstanding GRA award in GT's College of Computing (2022), Rising Stars in EECS (2021), and GT's Faces of Inclusive Excellence (2015). You can find out more about her at

Host: Muhammad Shahzad, CSC

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