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Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. As an inventor, he holds more than 440 US and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. As an undergraduate he invented the first wearable infusion pump, and in his mid-20s he founded his first medical device company, AutoSyringe, Inc., to manufacture and market the pumps; within 5 years he had added a number of other infusion devices, including the first wearable insulin pump for diabetics.
In 1981 he founded DEKA Research & Development Corporation to develop internally generated inventions and to provide R&D for major corporate clients. He led the company’s development of the HomeChoice™ peritoneal dialysis system, which enables patients’ dialysis in the privacy and comfort of their home. Other notable developments include the Hydroflex™ surgical irrigation pump, the iBOT™ mobility device, and the Segway® Human Transporter. An advanced prosthetic arm currently in development for DARPA should advance the quality of life for returning injured soldiers.
Mr. Kamen has received many awards for his efforts. In 2000 he was awarded the National Medal of Technology for inventions that have advanced medical care worldwide, and for innovative and imaginative leadership in awakening America to the excitement of science and technology. In 2002 he was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997 and inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
In addition to DEKA, one of his proudest accomplishments is the founding in 1989 of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology. This year FIRST will serve more than 300,000 young people, ages 6–18, in more than 50 countries High school–aged participants can apply for more than $15 million in scholarships from colleges, universities, and corporations. Studies have shown that FIRST alumni are highly motivated to pursue careers in science and engineering, thus fulfilling Mr. Kamen’s goal of inspiring the next generation of technological leaders.