Dean Kamen is the type of guy that you would think was an inventor if you ever met him. He’s a bit eclectic, loves technology, and also loves being surrounded by some of his favorite parts of history. A tour of his home outside of Manchester, NH would take you through four stories of museum-like history. He’s got secret passages, an observation tower, a steam engine that once belonged to Henry Ford, and even hallways that look like mineshafts.
So what has Kamen invented? Let’s take a look.
The hype around the Segway was unbelievable about a decade ago. Steve Jobs reportedly said that it would be more important than the PC when hype was building for it. Others said that it would be more important than the internet. When it was finally unveiled and everyone saw what the invention happened to be, well… the hype was seen more as a marketing ploy. The Segway is important; however, because it is a self-balanced gyroscopic transportation machine, controlled by body weight, and can help people get around with ease. Who hasn’t taken a Segway tour of a major city?
The iBot Mobility System
Although this invention is no longer available, this powered wheelchair was a step in the right direction for those who needed this technology. It was the first powered wheelchair that could move up and down stairs or climb over obstacles that were in the way, like railroad tracks. The wheelchair could be used with a remote control and software updates allowed it to climb up curbs without changing the position of the chair.
The Man Cannon
How do police or emergency personnel get to the roof of a building to help rescue someone or stop a bad guy before they get away? The solution according to Kamen, is the Man Cannon. He co-invented this device that utilizes compressed air to shoot a human up to the roof of a building so they can then work on apprehension or rescue from the top of the building down while others come from the bottom up.
Kamen has primarily focused on the medical field because of his passion for helping others and that was the focus of his first invention. Called the AutoSyringe, it was a drug infusion pump that initially provided insulin to diabetics who needed continuous low doses of their medicine. Kamen was inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame solely because of this product, which really was the first practical insulin pump. Today Kamen or his company hold patents in this field for tech that is used in portable dialysis machines.
It’s a prosthetic arm that is named after Luke Skywalker because of the level of control that it brings amputees. Using replicated fingers, almost full natural control can be achieved so that keys can be used, hair can be brushed, or eggs can be cracked and cooked. It responds to multiple commands at once and was just recently approved for distribution by the FDA.
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