Dean Kamen and R&D Magazine

R&D Magazine named Dean Kamen their “2006 Innovator of the Year” in the August 2006 Magazine. Mr. Kamen’s name rang a bell because my kids had a good time doing FIRST Robotics competitions through their high school. (One of my kids is at a premier engineering university now.) A couple of interesting passages came from the magazine.

Human CannonballA patent by DARPA contained his name as an inventor — one more of over 150 patents that have his name. “The patent application involved shooting emergency workers, or SWAT team members, onto the roof of a building with a 4-m-high rail-mounted device powered by compressed air. The computer-controlled device could supposedly put a man onto the roof of a five-story building in less than two seconds.” Hmmm… haven’t we done carnival “human cannonball” demonstrations for over a century? I smile when I think of all the grey-market customers.One theme running through Kamen’s work is constant motivation of younger students, hopefully catching them before they get to college. He notes that there are more sports management graduates in the U.S. each year now, than there are engineering graduates. “When looking to what they want to be when they grow up, there is a larger “pot o’gold” at the end of the sports managment rainbow than there is at the engineering side.”

Because I do system engineering for living, I was happy to see the article end with the observation that “Technology is moving so quickly, that, to succeed you now and in the future will have to know how to be the right system integrator.”

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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