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Segway Inventor Dean Kamen: Science Isn’t a Spectator Sport

January 6th, 2015

Dean Kamen has invented hundreds of things, including the first insulin pump for treatment of diabetes. But he’ll probably be forever known as The Segway Guy.

Kamen made his fortune developing medical devices, but gained worldwide recognition in 2001 when he unveiled his Segway Personal Transporter. At the time, Kamen predicted the Segway would have an impact on society similar to that of the personal computer.

And while that claim remains debatable, the Segway has made significant inroads in niche markets. It’s gained acceptance in police departments, military bases, warehouses, corporate campuses and industrial sites — despite the highly publicized and unfortunate device related death of the British tycoon who bought the company in 2009. The man, Jim Heselden, 62, accidentally steered the Segway off a 30-foot cliff and into a river while riding on his estate, about 140 miles from London.

But let’s get back to Kamen, whose resume extends far beyond the Segway. The son of an illustrator for Mad Magazine and Weird Science, Kamen is an inventor, an entrepreneur and an autodidact who advocates for science and technology.