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Babak Parviz

  • Affiliate Professor

Babak is a Vice President at Amazon Inc.

He received his graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. From 2000 to 2001 he was with Nanovation Technologies as a designer and product manager for photonic devices. From 2001 to 2003 he was a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University working on self-assembly, biomedical devices (he co-invented the method resulting in the founding of Claros Diagnostics Inc. (acquired by OPKO Health)), and organic devices. He has been an assistant professor (2003-2008), an associate professor (2008-2012), and an affiliate professor (2012-present) in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Washington. He was with Google from 2010 to 2014 where he was a Google Distinguished Engineer and a Director at Google [x]. He is the creator of Google Glass. He founded, built, and led the Google Glass program from 2010 till 2013. He is also the co-founder of the Smart Contact Lens program at Google. Babak’s areas of interest span high-tech with social impact, novel communication and computing paradigms, biotechnology, nano and micro technology, photonics, and engineering at scale. Thousands of articles have been written worldwide reporting on Babak’s work.

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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_10642" align="alignleft" width="354"] Dr. Babak Parviz was honored with the award at the 2017 U-M commencement ceremony. Credit: The University of Michigan.[/caption]

Affiliate Professor Babak Parviz received the prestigious Bicentennial Alumni Award from his alma mater The University of Michigan (U-M) for his "pioneering technological innovations that augment human potential and improve peoples’ lives." To date, Parviz is one of 20 alumni to earn this exclusive award.

Parviz has revolutionized communication technology through advances in optics, self-assembly and miniaturized electronics. In 2010, Parviz joined Google and was the leader behind the Glass Project. Parviz has brought his vision to the UW Department of Electrical Engineering as an adjunct professor. Here, he has worked with researchers on several pioneering projects, including the development of “smart” contact lenses – ones that can monitor glucose levels.

Currently, Parviz is Vice-President at Amazon. Parviz has received numerous awards, including Time magazine Best Inventions of the Year honors in 2008 and 2012, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Circuits and Systems Society Industrial Pioneer Award, Design News Golden Mousetrap Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Science Foundation Career Award.

The U-M Bicentennial Alumni Awards were established to "highlight the breadth and excellence of recent alumni." Parviz's work articulates this depth. He continues to blur the lines between medical and consumer technology, focusing on work that operates for large-scale societal impact.

 

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Information for this article was gathered from a recent University of Michigan news release.

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In addition to his appointment as an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Parviz is also a vice-president at Amazon. Before Amazon, he led the development of Google Glass while at the search giant. He has also excelled the research for "smart" contact lenses - ones that could monitor glucose levels. Dr. Parviz continually works at the intersection of society and technology for large-scale impact. What does societal impact mean when developing technology? At Amazon, we like to articulate very clearly how we can make the life better for an individual. As we evaluate impact for a single individual, we determine how we can scale the impact to affect many more people. We ask – how can this aggregate to a larger population. Often, it is not enough to account for broad impact on society without looking at an individual, at a single person’s experience. Why is it important? It would be difficult to argue otherwise. The impact has to be clear to a group of people. For example, if it’s clear to a group of engineers that their work can have an impact on an environment, the group will rally around the concept and make it happen. If it’s not as obvious, it’s usually more difficult to inspire a group into action. What is one of the first things you worked on where you said – “wow, this has the potential to change lives?” While I was completing my postdoctoral research fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, I worked on a biosensor that was meant to operate in resource-poor settings. As the device began to take shape and we could see growing success in our tests, I realized that our work could have real impact and change lives. Why is EE at the UW a good place to foster this type of societal impact? Amazon is very committed to the Pacific Northwest and growing a strong, healthy ecosystem. Additionally, the University of Washington is a great university, and the Department of Electrical Engineering is an incredibly strong department. By supporting EE at the UW, we are investing in cutting-edge, societally focused research. UW EE touches many things at the device level and at the systems level, which has a very sizable impact on the society. The department works on so many different things – from mastering DNA storage to building medical biosensors. The work also crosses many disciplines; the development of power grids is an example. UW EE touches people and touches society, and I am excited to be a part of it. 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was honored with the award at the 2017 U-M commencement ceremony. Credit: The University of Michigan.[/caption] Affiliate Professor Babak Parviz received the prestigious Bicentennial Alumni Award from his alma mater The University of Michigan (U-M) for his "pioneering technological innovations that augment human potential and improve peoples’ lives." To date, Parviz is one of 20 alumni to earn this exclusive award. Parviz has revolutionized communication technology through advances in optics, self-assembly and miniaturized electronics. In 2010, Parviz joined Google and was the leader behind the Glass Project. Parviz has brought his vision to the UW Department of Electrical Engineering as an adjunct professor. Here, he has worked with researchers on several pioneering projects, including the development of “smart” contact lenses – ones that can monitor glucose levels. Currently, Parviz is Vice-President at Amazon. Parviz has received numerous awards, including Time magazine Best Inventions of the Year honors in 2008 and 2012, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Circuits and Systems Society Industrial Pioneer Award, Design News Golden Mousetrap Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Science Foundation Career Award. The U-M Bicentennial Alumni Awards were established to "highlight the breadth and excellence of recent alumni." Parviz's work articulates this depth. He continues to blur the lines between medical and consumer technology, focusing on work that operates for large-scale societal impact.  

---

Information for this article was gathered from a recent University of Michigan news release.

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In addition to his appointment as an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Parviz is also a vice-president at Amazon. Before Amazon, he led the development of Google Glass while at the search giant. He has also excelled the research for "smart" contact lenses - ones that could monitor glucose levels. Dr. Parviz continually works at the intersection of society and technology for large-scale impact. What does societal impact mean when developing technology? At Amazon, we like to articulate very clearly how we can make the life better for an individual. As we evaluate impact for a single individual, we determine how we can scale the impact to affect many more people. We ask – how can this aggregate to a larger population. Often, it is not enough to account for broad impact on society without looking at an individual, at a single person’s experience. Why is it important? It would be difficult to argue otherwise. The impact has to be clear to a group of people. For example, if it’s clear to a group of engineers that their work can have an impact on an environment, the group will rally around the concept and make it happen. If it’s not as obvious, it’s usually more difficult to inspire a group into action. What is one of the first things you worked on where you said – “wow, this has the potential to change lives?” While I was completing my postdoctoral research fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, I worked on a biosensor that was meant to operate in resource-poor settings. As the device began to take shape and we could see growing success in our tests, I realized that our work could have real impact and change lives. Why is EE at the UW a good place to foster this type of societal impact? Amazon is very committed to the Pacific Northwest and growing a strong, healthy ecosystem. Additionally, the University of Washington is a great university, and the Department of Electrical Engineering is an incredibly strong department. By supporting EE at the UW, we are investing in cutting-edge, societally focused research. UW EE touches many things at the device level and at the systems level, which has a very sizable impact on the society. The department works on so many different things – from mastering DNA storage to building medical biosensors. The work also crosses many disciplines; the development of power grids is an example. UW EE touches people and touches society, and I am excited to be a part of it. 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Credit: The University of Michigan.[/caption] Affiliate Professor Babak Parviz received the prestigious Bicentennial Alumni Award from his alma mater The University of Michigan (U-M) for his "pioneering technological innovations that augment human potential and improve peoples’ lives." To date, Parviz is one of 20 alumni to earn this exclusive award. Parviz has revolutionized communication technology through advances in optics, self-assembly and miniaturized electronics. In 2010, Parviz joined Google and was the leader behind the Glass Project. Parviz has brought his vision to the UW Department of Electrical Engineering as an adjunct professor. Here, he has worked with researchers on several pioneering projects, including the development of “smart” contact lenses – ones that can monitor glucose levels. Currently, Parviz is Vice-President at Amazon. Parviz has received numerous awards, including Time magazine Best Inventions of the Year honors in 2008 and 2012, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Circuits and Systems Society Industrial Pioneer Award, Design News Golden Mousetrap Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Science Foundation Career Award. The U-M Bicentennial Alumni Awards were established to "highlight the breadth and excellence of recent alumni." Parviz's work articulates this depth. He continues to blur the lines between medical and consumer technology, focusing on work that operates for large-scale societal impact.  

---

Information for this article was gathered from a recent University of Michigan news release.

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Representative Publications

  • Chia-Jean Wang, Ludan Huang, Babak A. Parviz, and Lih Y. Lin, “Sub-diffraction photon guidance by quantum dot cascades,” Nano Letters 6(11): 2549-2553, 2006.
Babak Parviz Headshot
parviz@u.washington.edu
Mail
Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 981095

Research Areas

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (Chemistry and Chemical Biology
    Harvard University
  • Ph.D. Electrical Engineering
    University of Michigan
  • M.S. Physics
    University of Michigan
  • M.S. Electrical Engineering
    University of Michigan
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering
    Sharif University of Technology
  • B.A. English Literature
    University of Washington