Dean Kamen: Coptering In to Inspire Crowd at Boston 2034 on June 10

6/2/14Follow @bbuderi

Xconomy’s big Boston 2034 conference is barely a week away. A continent of amazing speakers will be on hand, but one of those you will find most inspirational is Dean Kamen. Among the legendary inventor’s key messages, which I think will ring particularly true to those in Boston’s innovation community: those who are the most fortunate in our society must do more to help the roughly 7 billion who aren’t so lucky.

I connected with Kamen and his office a couple of times in recent weeks to prepare for his appearance at Boston 2034 on Tuesday, June 10, where he will deliver a morning keynote. You can find out more about the event, and register here. The Innovation Special and Startup Innovation Special rates end Tuesday, June 2. So act fast.

But in the meantime, I wanted to flag a few of the highlights of his appearance. 

For starters, Kamen will be flying down from his home and workplace (DEKA Research and Development in Manchester, NH) in his personal helicopter, landing on “a friend’s helipad” in Boston, according to a staffer. He will then make his way to the Seaport World Trade Center, where the event is being held—although I neglected to ask whether he will be taking a Segway (one of his many inventions) to the event.

Dean KamenAmong the things he will cover in his talk:

— Water, Power, Internet, Education: Figuring out how to make all of these available to everyone ranks among the biggest problems the world has, Kamen says. Innovators have to figure out how to address these fundamental challenges, so that the “other 7 billion people” (there are roughly 7.24 billion people in the world right now) have the best opportunity to realize their potential and help the world as well, Kamen told me.

— FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology: The FIRST robotics competition, founded by Kamen, is now in some 81 nations around the world. He will be filling us in on that and likely showing a Will.i.am video singing the praises of science and technology. The entertainer performed the song at the FIRST championship in St. Louis this April.

— His Slingshot water purification system: Kamen is partnering with Coca-Cola to distribute the water-purification devices—reportedly named after the slingshot David used to slay Goliath—throughout the developing world. The machines are part of what are called EKOCENTERs (note that Coke is spelled backwards in the name) that are solar-powered and employ a Stirling engine to operate. The Slingshot is the heart of the center, which is built out of a shipping container and intended to be a community place for services such as electricity, wireless access, and vaccine storage, in addition to clean water.

— “Luke” robotic arm: Kamen has long worked on inventions to help the disabled. In May, the FDA approved the DARPA-funded prosthetic arm, dubbed Luke, for Luke Skywalker. According to Popular Science, Luke “has the distinction of being the first FDA-approved arm that can move multiple joints at once by receiving commands from electromyograms, or EMG, electrodes on remaining parts of the arm.” 

Again, you can get your tickets and find out more about Boston 2034 here. Kamen last spoke at an Xconomy event in June 2009, rousing the crowd to a standing ovation. Trust me, you don’t want to miss his talk on June 10.  

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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