Fadel Adib

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Associate Professor, MIT
CEO & Co-Founder, Cartesian Systems (startup)
Founding Director, Signal Kinetics Research Group
MIT Media Lab & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science      

BRIEF BIO: I am an Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab and EECS. I direct the Signal Kinetics group which invents new wireless and sensor technologies to interconnect, sense, and perceive the physical world in ways that were not possible before. Our technologies aim to address complex problems in networking, health monitoring, robotics, and ocean IoT.

My research has led to multiple startups. I am currently CEO and co-founder of Cartesian Systems, a startup that aims to sense the physical world at an unprecedented scale and precision. Prior to that, my PhD research on wireless sensing (ACM SIGMOBILE Dissertation Award) led to Emerald Innovations, whose devices are used for remote health monitoring of thousands of patients.

I have received various honors for my work, including being named as one of the world's top 35 innovators under 35, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and the ACM SIGMOBILE Rockstar Award. My research was named as one of the 50 ways MIT has transformed computer science, and one of the 103 ways MIT is making a better world. I have had the honor to present my research to multiple heads of state, including demoing to President Obama at the White House. My research has also been broadly featured in public media, and videos featuring my work have reached over 25 million people.

Before joining MIT as faculty, I received my Masters (2013) and PhD (2016) in Computer Science from MIT and my Bachelors (2011) from the American University of Beirut.

Interested in joining my research group? You can find information on how to apply for MS/PhD, MEng, postdoc, UROP, and software/hardware/ML engineer positions here.

Interested in joining my startup? We have openings for research interns & full-time engineers at Cartesian.

Research Overview

My team's current research on wireless and sensor technologies focuses on four main areas:

My past research includes:

Finally, stories behind my research appeared in an MIT News profile (junior faculty journey) and IEEE Spectrum (PhD research).

Recent News

  • Three upcoming papers on ocean IoT:
    • The world's first wireless 3D color imaging camera (MobiCom'24)
    • Eavesdropping on underwater communication from the air (MobiCom'24)
    • The first system for localizing underwater robots using backscatter (IROS'24)
  • Check out our work on the first reinforcement learning system for RFID localization (IEEE RFID'24)
  • Honored to be named as Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
  • Chairing IEEE RFID 2024, to be held at the MIT Media Lab on June 4-6, 2024.
  • Check out my latest seminar about our ongoing research:

Selected Awards & Honors

My Team

Research Staff: Ahmed Allam (Postdoc)

Graduate Students:

  • Tara Boroushaki (Microsoft Research PhD Fellow, Award Papers in IEEE RFID'23 & ACM SenSys'21)
  • Sayed Saad Afzal (MathWorks Fellow, MIT EECS Best MS Thesis Award, Award Papers in Nature Communications'22 & ACM WUWNet'22i & ACM MobiCom'23)
  • Waleed Akbar (Award Papers in Nature Communications'22 & ACM WUWNet'22 & ACM MobiCom'23)
  • Laura Dodds (MIT Presidential Fellow, MIT EECS Best MEng Thesis Award, Award Papers in IEEE RFID'23)
  • Nazish Naeem (Award Papers in ACM WUWNet'23 & IEEE RFID'23)
  • Maisy Lam (NSF GRFP Fellow, Award Paper in IEEE RFID'23)
  • Jack Rademacher (Award Paper in ACM WUWNet'22)
  • Purui Wang (Award Paper in ACM WUWNet'22)
  • Weitung Chen (MIT Jacobs Presidential Fellow, Award Paper in IEEE RFID'23)
  • You? We're always looking for ambitous students to join us. We do not require fellowships prior to admission. In fact, most students got their fellowships and even their first paper after joining the lab!

Administrative: Aimee Schroeder (Senior Administrative Assistant)

Alumni (PhDs and postdocs): Mohamed Radwan Abdelhamid (PhD → Apple, co-advised w/ Anantha Chandrakasan), Reza Ghaffarivardavagh (Postdoc → Apple), Yunfei Ma (Postdoc → Alibaba), Aline Eid (Postdoc → Assistant Professor at University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor), Unsoo Ha (Postdoc → Apple)


I believe in open and accessible education, and make my teaching material available to the public.

Press Coverage

Subsea Backscatter (PAB, U2B, UBL, VAB) was covered by: The Economist, IEEE Spectrum TechCrunch, World Economic Forum, BBC, National Geographic, dezeen, EE Times, PCMag, ExtremeTech, All About Circuits, MIT News [Front Page], and others.

AR with X-Ray Vision (X-AR, RF-AR) was covered by MIT News, Popular Science, Boston.com, Futurism, The Hindu, Cool Hunting, and others.

Battery-free Underwater Camera was covered by: MIT News [Front Page], CBC, CNET, National Geographic (Spanish), Aljazeera (Arabic), and others.

Robotic RF-Visual Perception & Manipulation (RF-Grasp, RFusion) was covered by: The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Mashable, Engadget, MIT News [Front Page], RFID Journal, CACM, World Economic Forum, BBC, Daily Mail, Interesting Engineering, and others.

Underwater-to-air Communications (TARF) was covered by: BBC, Fox News, Smithsonian, Popular Mechanics, IEEE Spectrum, CNET, Engadget, MIT News [Front Page], and other media outlets.

Batteryless Micro-implants (IVN, micro-medic) was covered by: Technology Review, Engadget, Boston Herald, Yahoo! News, UPI, Medgadget, Digital Trends, New Atlas, and other media outlets.

RFID Micro-sensing (RFind, RFly, TurboTrack, RFIQ) was covered by: MIT News [Front Page], RFID Journal, BBC, IEEE Spectrum, Engadget, CBS This Morning, The Engineer, The Verge, Inverse, Geek, Digital Trends, TechCrunch, New Atlas, MIT News, ZDNet, Tech Xplore, Assembly Magazine, and others.

Our White House Demo to President Obama was covered by: The White House Press Office, MIT News, NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and others.

Wireless Sensing of Vitals & Emotions (Vital-Radio, EQ-Radio) was covered by: New Scientist, CBS, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal‎, Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company, Engadget, NOVA|PBS, Le Figaro, Discovery News, Wired, Daily Mail, Engadget, Medgadget, Gizmodo, and others.

Seeing Through Walls (Wi-Vi, WiTrack, RF-Capture) was covered by: The Washington Post, BBC, NBC News, FOX News, The Guardian, Boston Globe, Popular Science, Discovery News, Slashdot, Slate, Technology Review, Fast Company, Wired, Engadget, Bloomberg TV, Daily Mail, Hacker News , Business Insider, Huffington Post, Popular Mechanics, and others.

Finally, one of the cool highlights of my research is an entire episode in The Big Bang Theory about our emotion detection device.

© Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2023