Deborah Estrin

Panelist: “An Evening of Innovation” Sponsored by Qualcomm


One of the earliest and highest impact innovators and thought leaders in mobile sensing systems, Deborah Estrin was among the first to recognize that mobile phones could serve as powerful sensing and engagement platforms for patient observation and intervention, transforming the health technology sector. Leveraging her expertise in Internet architecture and mobile sensing technologies, she created software systems that implemented and demonstrated the power of passive and active data collection for patient health management. She led the development and demonstration of energy-constrained sensing systems, including the directed diffusion protocol, in-network processing, time synchronization, and tiered system architectures. She was among the first to demonstrate on-device and cloud-based activity classification algorithms, support for a broad range of clinical research, and privacy-by-design systems that supported selective sharing of data. Her collaboration with clinicians has shown how mobile sensing and technology can be important to supporting behavioral changes for management of chronic conditions, including oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, rheumatology, and geriatrics. She also explored an expanded scope of personal data sources beyond mobile phones to include consumer transaction and language data generated through online activities, and she promoted the development of algorithms and systems that transform noisy and diverse personal data streams into digital biomarkers to report on clinical care, self-care, and research as well as identification of threats and approaches to privacy preservation. She was the founding director of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), which pioneered the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real-time data about the physical world and the people who occupy it. She also cofounded the nonprofit startup Open mHealth, whose mission is to catalyze an open ecosystem for technical, methodological, and social innovation, and she initiated and led the development of the ResearchStack software framework that extended mobile health research participation beyond iOS devices to include individuals with Android devices.

An IEEE Fellow, member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering, Estrin is a professor with the Department of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Impact at Cornell Tech, New York, NY, USA.