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Dean Kamen

May 27, 2012

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,education,event — Terry Wohlers @ 09:06

Dean Kamen’s name has come up repeatedly for many years and I have always wanted to meet and hear him speak. Kamen is best known as the inventor of the Segway, an electric, self-balancing vehicle. He has 440 patents to his name and is the head of Deka Research and Development Corp., a company with 400 employees. I got the chance to hear Kamen and later meet him briefly last week in Atlanta, Georgia. He was invited to speak at the EOS North American User Day, which coincided with the RAPID 2012 Conference and Exposition.

Kamen is an inventor and entrepreneur, but he is mostly a relentless advocate of science and technology. He is the founder of the incredibly successful FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), launched in 1989. FIRST competitions involve hundreds of thousands of elementary and secondary students in 21 countries, as well as 100,000+ volunteers that come together to make it possible. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, from The Black Eyed Peas, and many other celebrities have supported FIRST. The CEOs from Time Warner Cable, Xerox, Avon, and Baxter serve on the FIRST board of directors.

The presentation that Kamen gave on Tuesday is difficult to describe. You really needed to be there. He has an incredible passion for ensuring that young people view science and technology with as much or more enthusiasm as professional sports, music, and Hollywood entertainment. His stories and words of inspiration brought tears to many in the room.

My sincere thanks to EOS for bringing Kamen to Atlanta. Kamen’s company is a regular user of EOS laser sintering technology and he showed many interesting examples, which made his presentation even more relevant and meaningful to those in the room.