Thursday 8 July 2010

Major innovator to speak at Automation Week

Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST® and inventor of the Segway™, is ISA Automation Week 2010 opening keynote speaker

Inventor Dean Kamen will deliver the opening keynote address at ISA Automation Week 2010 on Tuesday, 5 October in Houston, (TX US).

Kamen’s speech will officially kick off ISA’s annual event and will focus on the organization he founded in 1989, FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST, despite its jingoistic URL (, is an organisation with an active international presence. It is dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology. In 2010, its flagship program, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), reached more than 45,000 high-school students in the US on more than 1,800 teams in 43 regional competitions, seven district competitions, and one national championship. The FIRST Robotics Competition teams professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem in an intense and competitive way.

This is just one of Kamen’s many accomplishments. As an inventor and physicist, he has dedicated his life to developing technologies that help people lead better lives. Kamen is also widely recognized as the inventor of the popular - and mouthwatering - Segway™ Human Transporter, which provides a clean alternative for short-distance travel. He holds more than 440 US and foreign patents, many for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. While still a college undergraduate, Kamen invented the automatic, self-contained ambulatory pump that delivers precise doses of medication to patients with a variety of medical conditions.

“Anyone attending ISA Automation Week will find a connection with Dean Kamen,” said Gerald Cockrell, ISA Automation Week Technical Program co-chair. “Whether it’s through the technologies he has invented or through a shared passion for helping humanity, Dean Kamen offers inspiration to anyone involved in automation and engineering,” Cockrell continued.

Following the sale of his first company, AutoSyringe, Inc., to Baxter International Corporation, Kamen founded DEKA Research & Development Corporation. DEKA develops internally generated inventions, and provides research and development for major corporate clients. The range of products and technologies invented and developed by Kamen and the engineering team at DEKA is extremely broad. Some examples of notable breakthrough medical devices invented and developed by DEKA are the HomeChoice™ portable dialysis machine, marketed by Baxter Healthcare, and the iBOT™ Mobility System, a sophisticated mobility aid developed for Johnson & Johnson.

DEKA’s other projects include: a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded robotic arm that restores functionality for individuals with upper extremity amputations, a new and improved Stirling engine that converts almost any fuel into electrical power and clean heat, new water purification technology that converts almost any source water into safe drinking water, and many others.

“Dean Kamen’s and DEKA’s accomplishments are outstanding. What he has done for humanity in terms of his medical and mobility inventions and technologies that help people live better lives is simply remarkable,” said Cockrell. “We are extremely proud to welcome him to ISA Automation Week. We hope his dedication to inspiring the next generation through FIRST will spark new programs, initiatives, and involvement to the foundation from our automation professionals attending ISA Automation Week."

Kamen has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment in 1998, the National Medal of Technology from US President Bill Clinton in 2000, the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002 for Invention and Innovation, the United Nations Association of the USA Global Humanitarian Action Award in 2006, the American Society of Manufacturing Engineers Medal in 2007, the 2008 LEGO Prize, the 2009 Committee for Economic Development Public Policy Award, and honorary degrees from more than 25 colleges and universities. He was inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2005.

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