Written by on February 27, 2015

Meet Robert Garlinghouse: Host of Open Science Cafe

Robert Garlinghouse, one of this year’s Open Science Cafe winners, is an industrial  engineering senior with a passion for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). In order to get to know him better, and for a preview of what the event, Living with an Internet of Things: RFID and Our Future, will be like, I asked him a few questions:

What is your Open Science Cafe event going to be about?

The event is about the Internet of things with an emphasis on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and how these technologies will impact the future of business. The Internet of things is a broad concept, but it is defined as the networking of physical objects with the Internet and/or each other by some means of connectivity. One common source of connectivity is RFID, an automatic identification technology that uses radio-frequency waves to identify objects carrying tags when they’re brought within brought close enough proximity of a reader. Mark Roberti, founder and editor of the RFID journal and the world’s leading expert on RFID will be speaking at the event and will explain how businesses and entrepreneurs will be able to leverage this technology in the near future.

Why did you choose this topic?

The idea to do this event was Dr. Tali Freed’s, advisor of the RFID club, who suggested at one of our meetings that we submit an application to Open Science Café. The members of the club, including myself, were excited about the idea and began brainstorming what the topic of the event should be. Collectively, we landed on the Internet of things because we believe it’s something that will interest a lot of people. It’s an exciting and developing movement in technology that will soon play a role in all of our daily lives.

How is the event relatable to people of any background (i.e. not an RFID background)?

There will be demos at the event that will give attendants a chance to learn hands-on about how RFID works and how it supports the Internet of things. Members of the RFID club will be available to help guests play with the demos and answer any questions they have about the technology.

What are some reasons that students from any type of major should go to the event?

The Internet of things will be a part of everyone’s daily lives in some form or another so I think most students will find it very interesting to see what the future holds. Also, as a successful entrepreneur with a background in journalism, Mark Roberti brings an incredibly wide range of expertise to share with students beyond his technical knowledge on RFID.

Who is helping you with this event?

There are a lot of people helping to make this event happen. The whole RFID club is working together in putting on the demos and other details of the event.

Karen Lauritsen, the Communications and Public Programs Coordinator of Kennedy Library, has been integral in planning the event, and I’ve learned a lot from her about effective project management. I also have support from many people who work at Kennedy Library.

What made you want to do an event about RFID technology?

I’ve been interested in RFID since my sophomore year when I joined the RFID club and I saw how valuable the business applications of RFID can be. Also, having the opportunity to work on an event like this in my last quarter at Cal Poly felt like a great way for myself and other senior club members to end our college experience at Cal Poly.

What is your major and why did you choose it?

I am majoring in Industrial Engineering, I chose this major because I liked the combination of technical and people skills it helps you to develop.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

I’m job searching right now, but my hope is to find a position working in some kind of operations management. My favorite subject in school is Operations Research so I hope to return to graduate school soon to earn my masters in a related field.

Some fun facts:

My favorite hobbies are skiing, hiking, and camping – I’m from Salt Lake City, UT and really enjoy spending time in the mountains.

Read more on mark roberti, open science cafe, and rfid.