Internet of Things, IoT

That favorite childhood book, Where the Wild Things Are, depicts the imaginary journey of a child who is in trouble. He is transported to a magical place where the Wild Things reside through his imagination. When I first heard the expression, “The Internet of Things” or IoT, it conjured up for me just such an imaginary place. Like the futuristic world of the “Jetsons,” I imagined a spaceship in my driveway and a robot serving me lunch. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Truth is, the IoT is much more practical than that far off world and in fact, it is here. Now! Dr. Stephen Fickas, a professor in Computer and Information Science at UO and Advisory Board Member of Fidgets2Widgets, is teaching and speaking IoT. He understands that we are moving from desktops and websites (read more-TheInternetofThings) to Raspberry Pi and cloud computing.

In case you didn’t know, Dr. Fickas is responsible for putting together a team of UO students to help Fidgets2Widgets create a technology based exercise program for kids. The integration of Fitbit wearables, exercise and our online e-store is something we use at F2W everyday. It is in fact, a perfect example of IoT. Our internet based e-store can be accessed from your phone, computer or tablet. The Fitbit or wearable tracks your steps and converts them to Widgetcoins. Ask any parent of one of our kids (263 kids are formally enrolled in the program) and they are all too familiar with the sometimes frantic exercising that takes place on our exercise bike, Jungle Jumparoo or wii-u exergaming room. Dr. Fickas is passionate about giving your kids (previous App Inventor class at F2w, 3D Printing, Raspberry Pi) the practical skills they need to interact with, program and data mine information.

“Fickas isn’t waiting to see if the predictions come true. Known for an innovative approach to education, he has
launched a course that gives students—inside and outside computer science—basic skills in programming, networks, and data analysis. The CIS department has seen the future: they believe it’s one in which UO graduates must be able to speak “IoT”—regardless of whether they plan to be a software specialist or a Shakespeare scholar,” says Matt Cooper in the latest Cascade Magazine.  Thank you, Dr. Fickas, for what you continue to do in the field of Computer Science. You inspire us all!

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