Dean Kamen


Born: 1951
Best known as: Inventor of the Segway transporter

Dean Kamen is an inventor and engineer known particularly for inventing the Segway electric scooter. Kamen began his career with medical inventions, including the first portable insulin pump. Later he developed a prototype wheelchair called iBot which allows users to climb stairs and raise themselves upright. He is the founder of FIRST -- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology -- a program to encourage young scientists and inventors. Early in 2001 rumors began to fly about an upcoming Kamen project, a secret invention code-named IT or Ginger. An enthusiastic book proposal by author Steve Kemper said IT would "change the world," leading to much speculation in the press. In December of 2001 Kamen revealed that IT was a new style of gyroscope-based electric scooter, now called the Segway Human Transporter, or Segway. The popularity of the device didn't quite live up to the pre-release hype, making the Segway a dependable pop-culture punchline in the years since. Nonetheless, Kamen forged on, creating advanced prosthetic limbs and, in 2010, co-hosting his own cable TV show, Dean of Invention.

Extra credit:

Kamen’s father Jack Kamen was a comic-book artist who drew for Weird Science and MAD magazines… Dean Kamen attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute but did not earn a degree… Kamen invented the heart stent used to repair the heart of Vice President Dick Cheney.

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