Prolific invenor unafraid to fail or be challenged

Segway, the self-balancing human transporter; iBOT, the all terrain electric wheelchair; Slingshot, an engine system for simultaneously

Dean Kamen

generating power and purifying water. What do they all have in common? All were invented by the legendary and prolific Dean Kamen.

What Kamen has accomplished is unbelievable. He holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents. While still in college, he invented the first wearable drug infusion pump. But the accomplishment for which he is most proud is starting FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology— which is best known for running an annual robotics competition that has involved more than 1 million students from more than 50 countries.

Kamen was in San Diego recently to accept the Scientist of the Year award from the San Diego Chapter of ARCS — Achievement Rewards for College Scientists. His message at the event is important for all entrepreneurs: Don’t be afraid to fail, and focus on solving big problems.

“I only work on projects that I believe will improve life for a bunch of people. I get up every morning, work hard and fail a lot,” said Kamen, a thin, wiry 61-year-old who was wearing his trademark jeans and denim shirt. In his honor, many of the dinner guests were dressed in similar attire.

Read the rest at UT San Diego.

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