The IEEE Internet of Things Journal Started With a Conversation About Bread

A group of friends came up with an idea for a successful product over dinner

2 min read
Illustration for the Internet of Things.
Illustration: Shutterstock

THE INSTITUTE Five IEEE members, including myself, met for lunch one day in 2011. Four of us were born outside the United States, but all lived in central New Jersey. During the meal, we discovered we were all bread-lovers. We lamented how we missed great bread, which was readily available in many European countries but was difficult to find in our local bakeries. Life Member Mahmoud Daneshmand, originally from Iran, offered to prove to us that it was indeed possible to get good bread in New Jersey. He invited all of us to his home for what he called a “Persian dinner,” which was prepared by his wife, Parvin Daneshmand. The memorable dinner took place on 5 March 2011.

That’s where I first met IEEE Fellow Chonggang Wang. During the dinner Chonggang asked me what it would take to launch an IEEE journal. He explained that he saw a need for one on the burgeoning field of IoT. Having started the popular IEEE Sensors Journal, sponsored by the IEEE Sensors Council, I described the process and offered to help him launch and manage this one.

I recruited the IEEE Sensors Council and the IEEE Communications and Computer societies to become financial cosponsors. The three signed a memorandum of understanding. With Chonggang’s help, I prepared the required proposals for launching a journal, made a presentation to the IEEE Periodicals Committee about why the proposed journal was needed, and basically sold the committee on the idea. On my recommendation, the IEEE Sensors Council president appointed Mahmoud to be the journal’s steering committee chair, and upon the steering committe’s approval, Chonggang became the editor in chief. This triumvirate—Mahmoud, Chonggang, and I—became the founders of this startup project, the bimonthly IEEE Internet of Things Journal, which launched in 2014.

Chonggang deserves credit for the rest. He assembled an outstanding editorial board and made the journal into the great success it is today. In its third year, the IEEE Internet of Things Journal has published 1,400 pages, a level that other journals have taken years to achieve. As evidence of its success, of the more than 4 million articles in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, the most downloaded one for the past year has been “Internet of Things for Smart Cities,” published in February 2014. It has been downloaded more than 191,200 times and cited in other articles over 300 times. During some months, four of the 100 most-downloaded articles from IEEE Xplore have been from the IEEE Internet of Things Journal.

So, the conversation that started with a discussion about bread resulted in one of IEEE’s most successful journals. And by the way, the bread at the Persian dinner was delicious.

IEEE Life Fellow John Vig was, until recently, the vice president of publications for the IEEE Sensors Council. He was also the 2009 IEEE president and CEO. He is a consultant with ECS Federal Corp., a company in Arlington, Va., that specializes in supporting defense, national security, and domestic preparedness programs.

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Can This DIY Rocket Program Send an Astronaut to Space?

Copenhagen Suborbitals is crowdfunding its crewed rocket

15 min read
Five people stand in front of two tall rockets. Some of the people are wearing space suits and holding helmets, others are holding welding equipment.

Copenhagen Suborbitals volunteers are building a crewed rocket on nights and weekends. The team includes [from left] Mads Stenfatt, Martin Hedegaard Petersen, Jørgen Skyt, Carsten Olsen, and Anna Olsen.

Mads Stenfatt

It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen: our homemade rocket floating down from the sky, slowed by a white-and-orange parachute that I had worked on during many nights at the dining room table. The 6.7-meter-tall Nexø II rocket was powered by a bipropellant engine designed and constructed by the Copenhagen Suborbitals team. The engine mixed ethanol and liquid oxygen together to produce a thrust of 5 kilonewtons, and the rocket soared to a height of 6,500 meters. Even more important, it came back down in one piece.

That successful mission in August 2018 was a huge step toward our goal of sending an amateur astronaut to the edge of space aboard one of our DIY rockets. We're now building the Spica rocket to fulfill that mission, and we hope to launch a crewed rocket about 10 years from now.

Copenhagen Suborbitals is the world's only crowdsourced crewed spaceflight program, funded to the tune of almost US $100,000 per year by hundreds of generous donors around the world. Our project is staffed by a motley crew of volunteers who have a wide variety of day jobs. We have plenty of engineers, as well as people like me, a pricing manager with a skydiving hobby. I'm also one of three candidates for the astronaut position.

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