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Dean Kamen

Dean KamenAKA Dean L. Kamen

Born: 5-Apr-1951

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Inventor
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Segway pedestrian vehicle

In 1972, Dean Kamen invented a portable, programmable pump that automatically delivers accurate doses of medicine, such as insulin, over extended periods. It's small enough to allow people who'd previously been bedridden to be mobile enough to live normal lives. In 1981, he started DEKA Research & Development Corporation, which introduced a portable dialysis machine, and the HydroFlex Irrigation System -- a multi-purpose pump that replaced the expensive separate pumps that used to be required for arthroscopic (interior joint), endoscopic (colon, bladder, tummy, or other hollow interior organ), or gynecologic examinations. Kamen also invented a better stent (tube for supporting damaged arteries). All told, Kamen or his company hold more than 150 patents.

In 1999, Kamen came out with the IBOT, a computerized wheelchair (though Kamen insists it's not a wheelchair) with a built-in computerized gyroscope for balance. It can climb stairs or lift its sitter into a secure standing position. You can get one for about $25,000. And in 2001, amid great media fanfare, he introduced the Segway, a two-wheeled mobile device -- don't call it a scooter, he implores -- that whisks a rider along, standing, with impeccable gyroscopic balance. George W. Bush, trying one out, famously fell on his ass, but only because he forgot to turn the Segway on.

Kamen commutes to work in one of his two helicopters. He's never been married. He owns an island off the coast of Connecticut called North Dumpling, which he jokingly fancies an independent nation. North Dumpling has a non-aggression pact with the U.S., signed by Kamen's long-time buddy, the first President Bush.

Father: Jack Kamen (comic book artist; Mad, Brenda Starr; b. 29-May-1920)
Mother: Evelyn Kamen
Brother: Barton Kamen (oncologist)
Brother: Mitch Kamen

    University: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (dropped out)

    Segway Founder
    Member of the Board of Segway
    FIRST Founder
    Friends for Harry Reid
    X-Prize Foundation Board of Trustees
    National Medal of Technology and Innovation 2000
    Lemelson-MIT Prize 2002
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 2005
    ASME Medal 2007

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