IoT…the early years

If you’ve ever wondered who to thank for the fact that you can set your thermostat from the other side of the world or check who rang your doorbell while you bike along the Rhine, look no further than some smart, but somewhat lazy, computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University.

Located in Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mellon is a private institution founded in 1900 by noted industrialist Andrew Carnegie. With a heavy focus on research and technology, Carnegie would have been proud to learn that one day some Carnegie Mellon students would create a solution that was the pre-cursor to the Internet of Things (IoT).

In the early 1980’s, some Carnegie Mellon computer science students were tired of going down a flight of stairs to the nearest Coke machine, only to discover none were available or it had just been loaded and their sugary, caffeinated beverage hadn’t been given enough time to chill properly. They decided to create a way to gauge consumption readiness and save their 20-year-old legs the laborious, excrutiating trip down and up a single flight of stairs.

They installed micro-switches in the Coke machine and connected them to a departmental computer to determine if any Cokes were present and, if so, whether they were chilled to the right temperature.

While necessity is the mother of invention, apparently so, too, was the need to limit activity while taking in more empty calories.