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Segway Inventor / off topic


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#1 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 10:23 AM

Attached File  I_bot.jpg   196.82KB   352 downloads
I had the pleasure of working with Segway inventor Dean Kamen the other day. What I had not realized, the segway is just a toy spin off of his real invention, the "I-Bot" wheel chair. Dean's main concept was to create a wheel chair that elevated the user to eye level. Its all about humility and dignity. The fact that this thing climbs steps, and moves in an amazing manor is all secondary. Dean is all about making life better for the less fortunate. An amazing individual, who is sharing his genius for the better. His next "Big" invention, a box that purifies water, any water, salt, chemicals, dirty, etc. The unit requires 550 watts of electricity, that?s it... no filters to change, chemicals to add, nothing. It really sounds like a miracle machine. This will change the globe. This guy is unbelievable.
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#2 Kareem La Vaullee

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 10:38 AM

I was aware of the iBot, it's a great thing when you see how much life is hard for people in wheelchairs. Thanks for creating this topic and for the picture, Dean Kamen looks like someone really interesting.

So rare to see someone working hard to make things go in the right direction...

His page on Segway's web site
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#3 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 11:14 AM

Jeff,

Five, six years ago (maybe longer) I had the pleasure of following Dean around in his wheel-chair (pre Segway) for a piece on 60 minutes (?). Fascinating man; he never once got out of the chair, leaving me to wonder if he was bound to it (his legs seemed to muscular, so I guessed not). We cruised all over Manhattan and did the stairs trick, etc. I remember thinking a cool camera platform could be adapted from it.....

I can see why he did the Segway though as the wheel chair is incredibly expensive so I can't imagine he has sold a lot of them and obviously he has a lot of R&D in it. Sadly, insurance companies won't pay for the I-bot and if memory serves, it comes with a price tag of around a half-million dollars. My wife ran into a fellow using this chair in New Orleans once and they talked a lot about it and Dean. Unfortunately, the man said he did not use the I-bot as much as he'd like because he was always concerned with damaging it and having to pay to fix it! Crazy world.

One personal point of interest, the entire time I spent with Dean, he never once looked at or commented on the Steadicam. Wouldn't be a surprise if we was an actor, but I can't imagine he has spent too much time around them. I just found it a little odd that an inventor wouldn't acknowledge another great invention. When I told this story to Garrett, he simply said "we call it inventor's envy." He then clearly stated having it for Dean's chair (and maybe Segway, I can't recall if this was out when I told him the story).

Anyway, yes, Dean is an amazing fellow.
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#4 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 08:48 PM

Alec,

Only 26 Thousand.... only, for the I-Bot. Just 2 weeks ago it was FDA approved. Johnson and Johnson is the company that is selling them. I dont think its inventor envy, I just think he is all about the better of mankind, seriously, I dont think he cares much about an invention, its more about helping people. Its beyond the money with this guy. And he walks just fine.
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#5 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 09:11 PM

Jeff,

26K??? Cool. I'm positive that it was much more then, but as we all know, the more you make, the cheaper it gets. I'm glad J&J is picking it up. Very good news for humanity!

Yes, I figured out he could walk because I asked the Producer at day's end. I also saw him on Letterman with the Segway a few years later (when Russell Crowe was a prick to him).
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#6 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 10:10 PM

Alec,
I saw that story on 60 Minutes and was amazed. Quite often I think about the wheelchair and the water purifier and wonder why they haven't taken off. Maybe it's because the big medical conglomerates didn't come up with the idea first....
Anyway, good to hear about this stuff again. Thanks for posting Jeff.
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#7 Afton Grant

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 05:43 PM

For those of you that have the Sundance Channel, there is an excellent piece on Dean Kamen along with, interestingly enough, Isabella Rossellini. It is part of their "Iconoclasts" series and it is running at various times throughout this week. If you can catch it, it's great.

It really demonstrates much of what others have already said in this post. Dean is very committed to making the world, yes, the world, a better place for the great numbers of its population that are underdeveloped and/or underprivileged. The wonderful thing is, he actually can. It's not the technology at all that is slowing everything down.

Happy holidays,
Afton
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