3. Flashback Friday: Coke machine at CMU
A Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh was the world’s first IoT ("Internet of Things") device. In the early 1980s, computer science graduate student David Nichols wanted a Coke, but his office was far from the machine. He feared the machine would be empty, or if it had been recently refilled, the Coke bottles would still be warm.
He knew the technology was available because of the computerized vending machine at Stanford. So, he teamed up with three other students and they installed a board that sensed the status of the indicator lights which turned off and on when a Coke was purchased or when a column was empty. The program tracked remaining cold Cokes and once Cokes were refilled, they were considered “cold” after three hours.
Anyone on the university’s local Ethernet could check the status of the Coke machine. It wasn’t long before a nearby M&M vending machine got similar treatment.
This item originally appeared in Inside IoT.