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Inventor Dean Kamen Encourages Rose-Hulman Students to Realize their Dreams
May 11, 2012
|Dean Kamen in teleconferenced
forum at Rose-Hulman
This week, students engaged Dean Kamen, one of the world's
foremost inventors, in an exclusive virtual forum that explored the
nature of innovation.
Kamen is a popular figure for inventing the
product now known as the Segway PT, an electric,
self-balancing human transporter with a sophisticated,
computer-controlled gyroscopic stabilization and control system.
However, Kamen also holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents,
many for innovative medical devices that have improved health care
worldwide. His inventions include the first portable infusion pumps
for insulin -- now also used in chemotherapy and many other
applications - which he developed while still an undergraduate
student. In 1976, Kamen founded AutoSyringe, Inc., to manufacture
and market the pumps, and later sold that company to Baxter
Healthcare Corporation in a multi-million dollar deal.
During the virtual forum, student Hobey Tam asked Kamen how
an inventor stays on top of innovation and avoids getting into a
rut. In response, Kamen revealed his tendency to focus on the
initial stages or "front-end" of new product
development, leaving the production to others: "If you develop
a great product that works well, and lots of people use it, you
will spend 5-10-15-20 years developing and servicing that product.
I would rather be able to work on 10 to 12 different products."
Student Luke Wooley asked Kamen how medical/biomedical
engineering would meet the challenges of the future. And Kamen
explained that medical and biomedical engineering is ripe for
innovation. "It has never been a better time for what we know
and what we need (in health care)," stated Kamen to the students.
"Applying engineering to health care is a great value."
But Kamen acknowledged that demands on the field will be
"The real challenge in the world of biomedical engineering,"
Kamen said, "is not only to find ways to keep supplying new
miracles, but to make better solutions that are also
Students take advantage of rare opportunity
Kamen is the founder of FIRST Robotics, a worldwide technology
competition program for students K through 12 which he founded to
transform our culture by creating a world where science and
technology are celebrated and where young people dream of
becoming science and technology leaders. These competitions
have ignited creativity and innovation among today's youths. "Kids
need a reason to learn different technology," he said. "They need
to see the relevance." Millions of young people today get their
first engineering experience through FIRST competitions.
Graduating seniors will get another opportunity to meet the
creative genius later this month as the college's