The Michigan Engineer News Center

Sonal Verma receives Microsoft Scholarship

Verma's work aims to marry low-power sensing with the mobile phone's computation, communications, and display technologies. | Short Read
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Sonal Verma, a graduate student in Electrical Engineering, has been awarded the Microsoft Graduate Women’s Scholarship for 2011-2012. Her research interests are wireless, embedded and networked systems. She is working on a project called HiJack with Prof. Prabal Dutta and Prof. Thomas Schmid(faculty member at U. Utah and former post-doctoral researcher at U-M).

For the HiJack project, Sonal has been working on the design of an ECG monitoring system that can be plugged into a smartphone using its audio headset port. The HiJack platform interfaces the ECG sensor peripheral with the mobile phone. It not only allows the sensor to parasitically draw power from the phone but also provides for the data transfer between the phone and the sensor.

This work aims to marry low-power sensing with the mobile phone’s computation, communications, and display technologies focused on transforming mobile phones into leading edge data collection devices. It could lead to the integration of a large number of sensing peripherals, such as for blood pressure, blood glucose, and body temperature, among others, with the mobile phone. For Sonal, this project is an important step towards enabling mobile healthcare technology for delivering accurate medical information anytime – anywhere.

More details about the project and current activities can be found at


The Microsoft Graduate Women’s Scholarhip is a one-year scholarship program for outstanding women graduate students pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mathematics. Ms. Verma is one of only 10 women in the country to be supported this year with a scholarship.

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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