TechLearn (2): Dean Kamen
As the “Recipient of the 2003 TechLearn Innovatorís Award”, Dean Kamen rolled on stage in a Segway. Dean explained they are now working on making drinkable water from any water source! He explained that there are plenty of inventions (the number of patents roughly doubled in his lifetime), but that innovation is much more rare.
Also, the reason why kids are much faster to pick up technology is not because they learn faster, but because we know too many things that are no longer true.
The Segway was built on the basic understanding Kamen and his team acquired the 10 years before, when they were working on weelchairs. The goal was to have a user interface that was no more difficult than that of a pair of sneakers.
Dean has set up the FIRST organisation “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”: the idea is to have a fun science fair for kids, involving many 1000’s of them, and involving mentors from some of the big engineering companies. FIRST needs money and … mentors: takers, anyone?