Dean Kamen, Sc.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2012
For outstanding contributions to drug delivery and advanced mobility and prosthetic devices.

Clean Water Should Be a Right, Not a Privilege. These Entrepreneurs Are Working to Make It So.

Via Singularity Hub | March 31, 2020

Today, 785 million people lack access to clean drinking water. Waterborne diseases are the number one killer on Earth, claiming 3.4 million lives a year, most of them children. And by 2025, according to the UN, half the globe will be water stressed. Yet climate change, our rapidly ballooning population, and consistently poor resource management aren’t helping matters.

In 2018, the World Economic Forum released their Global Risks Report, a periodic issuance designed to highlight the top five threats humanity will face over the next decade. While the WEF’s concerns are traditionally economic (oil crises, financial crashes, etc.), 2018 marked the first time that fiscal fears didn’t make the cut. Instead, today’s biggest dangers are all ecological in nature: water crises, biodiversity loss, extreme weather, climate change, and pollution.


Dean Kamen is a kind of geek superhero, a nerd Batman in a denim work shirt. For starters, he lives in a secret lair—an island fortress complete with hidden rooms, helicopter launchpads, and after peacefully seceding from the United States, its own constitution. His resume includes over 440 different patents, including insulin pumps, robotic prosthetics, and all-terrain wheelchairs… Continue reading.

Trailhead Biosystems Participates in $300 Million Consortium, the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI)

Via Market Wired | January 5, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH–(Marketwired – Jan 5, 2017) – The Department of Defense recently announced that $80 million from the federal government will be combined with more than $200 million in cost share to support the development of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). This new institute, led by industrialist Dean Kamen, will be the 12th Manufacturing USA institute established, and it brings together a consortium of 87 partners from across industry, academia and government to develop the manufacturing technologies for life-saving cells, tissues, and organs.

Within this consortium is Trailhead Biosystems, a Cleveland startup company that has invented novel methods for leveraging software/hardware technologies to dramatically lower the cost and increase the speed for producing specialized human cells. The technologies of Trailhead Biosystems will support ARMI’s industrial pipeline for biofabrication. In addition, Trailhead Biosystems will pioneer and lead the creation of an industrial catalogue of specialized human cells for cell therapy.

Tom Bollenbach, ARMI’s Chief Technology Officer, said, "I believe Trailhead can play an important role in ARMI’s research and development efforts, because the switch to highly optimized chemically defined culture media will be important in our effort to mitigate risk and provide consistency in the scale up of ARMI’s cell expansion and tissue manufacturing processes."

Dean Kamen Talks Houston & Building Robotics “Super Bowl” For Kids

Via Xconomy | May 20, 2016

Houston—Dean Kamen’s inventions include the iBot, a powered wheelchair that can “walk;” the first portable insulin delivery system; and a robotic prosthetic arm made for the military as he built his firm Deka Research and Development. (Also, you may have heard of this other invention he had: the Segway.)

Houston played a pivotal role in his company’s success, he said. “MD Anderson, they became the largest customer,” he said. “We got started on that real commercial relationship.”

Kamen was a keynote speaker at this year’s Medical World Americas conference, held in Houston this week. The discussion topics included personalizing care with big data, trends in digital medicine, and how entrepreneurship is disrupting healthcare.

During his address, Kamen gave the audience a 30,000-foot tour of his 30-plus years in innovation, as well as what is clearly his favorite project—FIRST, an annual robotics “Super Bowl” designed to encourage kids to take an interest in science and engineering.

5 Questions With Dean Kamen

Via NC State News | November 13, 2014

When Dean Kamen was an undergraduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, his older brother — a medical student at Harvard — talked about what a shame it was that outpatients had to come into the hospital to receive infusions of intravenous medicine. Wouldn’t it be better if there were some device that could administer precisely measured IV doses at home? Kamen saw his brother’s point, and in short order he invented the AutoSyringe — the first portable drug infusion pump in the world. He founded a company to manufacture the device, and several years later Kamen sold AutoSyringe Inc. for $30 million. His career as an inventor and entrepreneur had gotten off to a blazing-fast start.

Kamen didn’t rest on his laurels, though; right away he founded another company, DEKA Research and Development, which develops original inventions and provides research and development services for major corporate clients. Through DEKA Kamen invented the iBOT, a battery-powered, self-balancing, multi-terrain wheelchair. But the invention he’s most famous for is the Segway PT, a two-wheeled, battery-powered vehicle for individuals.

DEKA also makes the Slingshot, a water purifier specifically intended to be used in the developing world. It’s designed to generate its own electricity through combustion of anything that burns, to operate for five years without maintenance and to purify 1,000 liters of water per day — all while using less power than a hair dryer. The device has been successfully field-tested in Honduras and Ghana, and DEKA recently announced a partnership with Coca-Cola to bring the Slingshot to other parts of Latin America and Africa.

Dean Kamen: Don’t Blame Regulators for Stalling Medtech Innovation

Via MDDI | July 22, 2014

Medtech inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen says the public needs to get a more realistic idea of what it takes to bring innovative medical devices to market.

The medical device industry loves to beat up on FDA, but one person you won’t find lining up to take a shot at the agency is medtech inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen.

At the recent keynote address at the MD&M East exposition in New York City, Kamen urged the audience not to blame regulators for hampering medtech innovation. Instead, he said, it’s the public that needs to shift its attitude about what’s required to bring new medical technologies to market.

U.S. FDA Approves ‘Star Wars’ Robotic Arm for Amputees

Via Reuters | May 9, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a robotic arm for amputees that is named for the “Star Wars” character Luke Skywalker and can perform multiple, simultaneous movements, a huge advance over the metal hook currently in use.

The FDA said on Friday it allowed the sale of the DEKA Arm System after reviewing data, including a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study in which 90 percent of people who used the device were able to perform complex tasks. These included using keys and locks, feeding themselves, using zippers and brushing and combing hair.

The prosthetic arm was developed by New Hampshire-based DEKA Research and Development Corp, founded by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway and other devices.