Each week, we will be getting to know our faculty members a little bit better. This week, we will be getting to know Dr. Phil Lundrigan.
Dr. Phil Lundrigan, who teaches Wireless Networking and Computer Networking, focuses his research on the Internet of Things—and no, that’s not meme-speak. The Internet of Things delves into the physical manifestation and interconnectivity of the internet, from air quality sensors to motion detectors—and countless other technologies that are vital to safety and security. Dr. Lundrigan takes this technology and works to make it more powerful, more reliable, and more versatile.
In a whirlwind humanitarian project which lasted only five months but involved the design, creation, and international implementation of 50 innovative air quality sensors, Dr. Lundrigan used the Internet of Things to help work towards improving lives in Mongolia. Mongolia, a nomadic country north of China, has harsh winters reaching as low as -40°F. This means any systems implemented had to not only function in a lab, but be rugged enough to withstand extreme temperatures. Despite the intensity of the project, Dr. Lundrigan described it as one of his favorites because he got to witness the impact his work was making. “We actually got to go into people's homes and help them. They were really excited to understand the air quality inside their homes better because they tend to burn coal inside their homes to stay warm, so it felt like we're actually making an impact.”
Looking to more blue-sky aspirations, he shared that if there were one thing he could create or discover in his lifetime, it would be “one wireless network to rule them all.” Right now, he explained, all our networks—Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular—are disconnected from each other, each fulfilling a different need. His vision, however, would be a wireless protocol that just could fit all those needs and usher in a new generation of wireless devices that would fulfill the end goal of the Internet of Things: for all things to be connected. “It's not even feasible right now, but it would be an amazing design, and life-changing.”
If his humanitarianism didn’t make you want to be friends with him already, his at-home hobby will—making desserts, specifically ice cream and chocolate. While he isn’t much of a cook or baker, he has found his niche in dessert-making and makes ice cream almost every week.