DAY 4, DEAN KAMEN - INVENTION & INSPIRATION: BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
You may know Dean Kamen as the guy that invented the Segway. If your knowledge of Dean stops there, do yourself a favor and look him up after reading this. Dean Is one of the biggest American inventors of our time and has a laundry list of creations that make life easier and safer for everyone.
Dean is a very understated guy. The first thing you notice about about him is his quiet demeanor. For such a brilliant innovator, he seems to be remarkably humble and soft spoken. That is… until he gets talking about helping people. Dean lives to help make the world a better place through his inventions and his passion for this is extremely contagious. From the FIRST organization, to the robotic arm and his water filtration system, listening to Dean inspires you to deliver greater value to the world in all that you do.
The first thing Dean covered was the robotic arm. He launched into a story about a high level military representative asking for help. This military man proudly told Dean how well equipped the american military is. He boasted about the high-tech weapons and protection they provide the men and women that guard our lives.
He then told Dean about soldiers that get injured and lose an arm on the front-lines. No more state of the art technology for them. We send them home wearing a plastic stick with a hook to replace their arm. This, as the man told Dean, was unacceptable.
To fix this issue, Dean and his team built a self-powered, self-contained robotic arm in under two years. The arm could pick up a grape without damaging it and bring it to the owner’s mouth to eat. It’s nothing short of inspiring to hear about a man who can design and replace appendages. Think about that. He. Built. An. ARM. What did YOU do in the last two years?
Dean then went on to talk about the self-contained water filtration system he built. These things are the size of a mini-fridge and run on cow dung. That’s right. Not a typo. Basically the user inserts a hose from one end into anything with moisture, from mud to sludge, and fresh water comes out the other end. He can now distribute these to impoverished locations around the world to create clean drinking water for communities.
The great thing about Dean’s talk is that is picks you up and throws you out of the bubble these conferences leave you in. It makes you think about the bigger picture. We’re here to learn and observe, network and connect.
Maybe we should all be thinking less about how to do our jobs better, and more about how to make the world a better place.