The Wacky World of Dr. Terry Pundiak

May 16, 2019. The program featured a glimpse into the world of Easton Rotarian Terry Pundiak. An effort by the Pundiak household to leave one big thing for the garbage man unearthed a wooden filing cabinet filled with 30 years of stuff. Amongst the artifacts were items relating to Terry’s participation in numerous New York City marathons under the watchful eyes of Mayor Koch. Unlike the other participants, Terry’s run was also a scientific experiment. Inside his shoe was a sensing device made up of a Schaeffer beer can, duct tape, and a Dr. Scholl’s pad. This device sent signals to the primitive personal computer strapped to his back. This device allowed him to calculate speed and measure his fatigue index. Programming the computing device took months of effort. A similar project today would be accomplished in a matter of a few hours. Doing all this running led to an ill-fated scheme to create steel belted sneakers that would last as long as car tires.

The people at Apple turned down his request for free computing equipment but they did ask him to be in the world’s largest ad campaign. A four-page ad that ran in magazines such as Time and Newsweek featured 100 things you can do with a personal computer. Terry was number 62. Now that he is retired, Terry has a lot more time to spend on his numerous hobbies. Fortunately, computing isn’t nearly as tedious as it was in the 1980’s. He showed us his Raspberry Pi computer which fits in the palm of your hand. Attach it to a monitor and it is a full-featured computing device. Simple sensors can allow the device to control home security, maintenance, and monitor potentially dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Hobbyists can use it for photography and astronomy. The operating system is a version of Linux.

Terry is also experimenting with the Arduino device. This is a programmable control system. Once programmed, the Arduino can monitor things such as pressure, temperature, and humidity. Based on these inputs, the Arduino can send control signals to motors and other electrical devices. This allows for easy and inexpensive control systems. This is the type of device behind some of those fancy animated Christmas light displays. Thank you Terry for showing us some wild stuff.