Dean Kamen Biography

Dean Lawrence Kamen is a renowned American inventor, engineer, business person, and public speaker. He is best known for inventing the Segway, a two-wheeled, self-balancing, electric-powered personal transporting device. Along with Woodie Flowers, he co-founded the non-profit organization FIRST, which aims to inspire and recognize achievements in science and technology. From a young age, Kamen displayed his entrepreneurial spirit by earning money for his inventions. Despite leaving Worcester Polytechnic Institute without a degree, he went on to establish AutoSyringe, a successful company specializing in medicine pumps. Kamen’s innovative creations also include the iBOT, an all-terrain electric-powered wheelchair, and a compressed air device capable of launching humans into the air. In 1982, he founded DEKA Research & Development Corporation, which has made significant contributions to various fields, including solar energy and Stirling engine designs. Kamen’s remarkable achievements have earned him numerous accolades, including induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005 for his invention of the AutoSyringe.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Dean Lawrence Kamen
  • Age: 72 Years, 72 Year Old Males
  • Family: father: Jack, mother: Evelyn Kamen, siblings: Barton, Mitch, Terri
  • Born Country: United States
  • Inventors
  • Engineers
  • Height: 5’8″ (173 cm), 5’8″ Males
  • Notable Alumni: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • U.S. State: New Yorkers
  • More Facts
  • Education: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Awards:
    • 2000 – National Medal of Technology and Innovation
    • 2002 – Lemelson–MIT Prize
    • 2007 – ASME Medal
    • 1995 – Hoover Medal
    • 2008 – Washington Award
    • 2011 – Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering

Childhood & Early Life

Dean Kamen was born on April 5, 1951, in Rockville Centre, New York, USA. He is the son of Jack and Evelyn Kamen. His father was a renowned illustrator and his mother worked as a teacher. Dean had two brothers, Mitch and Barton, and a sister, Terri. Unfortunately, Barton passed away in 2012.

At the age of five, Kamen developed an innovative method of making his bed. He was an average student and often had issues with his teachers, who thought he was a slow learner. As a result, his mother took on the role of educating him.

Education and Early Inventions

After completing high school, Kamen enrolled at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. He had already started selling his inventions as a teenager, and this continued during his college years. He dropped out of WPI in 1976 to found AutoSyringe, a company that supplies a portable medicine pump called AutoSyringe.

Career

In 1982, Kamen established DEKA, a technology company based in Manchester, New Hampshire. DEKA has developed various patented technologies, including HomeChoice, a portable dialysis machine, and iBOT, an all-terrain electric-powered wheelchair. Kamen is also involved in a project utilizing Stirling engine designs to produce electricity and purify water, with the aim of improving the lives of people in developing countries.

Kamen has filed numerous patents for his inventions, including a compressed air device that can shoot a human into the air, aiding SWAT teams and emergency services. In 2009, DEKA announced its plans to develop solar-powered machines and created the prosthetic arm Luke as part of a DARPA project.

Additionally, Kamen co-founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international youth organization that promotes STEM education. FIRST runs various robotics competitions and has a large network of students, mentors, and volunteers.

Major Works

One of Kamen’s most notable inventions is the Segway PT, which he developed in the early 1990s. The Segway PT is a device operated by shifting body weight and is commonly known as a “Segway.” Kamen received the first patent for the Segway PT in 1997, and Segway Inc. was established in 1999.

Awards and Recognition

Kamen has received honorary degrees from institutions such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Kettering University, Clarkson University, and the University of Arizona. He was also the recipient of the Stevens Honor Award in 2009.

Family & Personal Life

Dean Kamen currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is a licensed pilot and owns an Embraer Phenom 300 light jet aircraft and three Enstrom helicopters. He has a hangar at his house and uses the helicopters for commuting.

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