Dean Kamen


Dean Kamen : biography

05 April 1951 –


In 1989, Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program for students to get people interested in science, technology, and engineering. One competition started and run by FIRST is the FRC or FIRST Robotics Competition. In 2011, it held 55 regional competitions around the globe, and one international competition in St. Louis, MO. FIRST has gained a great deal of publicity from companies such as Autodesk, BAE Systems, Bausch and Lomb, Boeing, CNN, General Electric, General Motors, Google, igus, Microsoft, National Instruments, Coca-Cola, Boston Gears, Motorola Solutions, Delphi, Kodak, Johnson and Johnson, Rockwell Automation, Xerox, Harris, Underwriter’s Laboratories, Microchip, SAP AG, Caterpillar and PTC as well as many Universities and colleges.

FIRST has many robotic programs, including the Jr.FLL (Junior FIRST Lego League) and the FLL (FIRST Lego League) for younger students, and the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) and the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) for high school aged students. – accessed December 23, 2009

Kamen says that the FIRST competition is the invention he is most proud of, and predicts that the 1 million students who have taken part in the contests so far will be responsible for some significant technological advances in years to come.


During his career Kamen has won numerous awards. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997 for his biomedical devices and for making engineering more popular among high school students. In 1999 he was awarded the 5th Annual Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment, and in 2000 received the National Medal of Technology from then President Clinton for inventions that have advanced medical care worldwide. In April 2002, Kamen was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize for inventors, for his invention of the Segway and of an infusion pump for diabetics. In 2003 his "Project Slingshot," a cheap portable water purification system, was named a runner-up for "coolest invention of 2003" by Time magazine. In 2005 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention of the AutoSyringe. In 2006 Kamen was awarded the "Global Humanitarian Action Award" by the United Nations. In 2007 he received the ASME Medal, the highest award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, in 2008 he was the recipient of the IRI Achievement Award from the Industrial Research Institute,, Industrial Research Institute Press Release, accessed Feb. 8, 2012. and in 2011 Kamen was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering of the Franklin Institute.

Kamen received an honorary "Doctor of Engineering" degree from Kettering University in 2001, an honorary "Doctor of Science" degree from Clarkson University on May 13, 2001, an honorary "Doctor of Science" degree from the University of Arizona on May 16, 2009, and an honorary doctorate from the Wentworth Institute of Technology when he spoke at the college’s centennial celebration in 2004, and other honorary doctorates from North Carolina State University in 2005, Bates College in 2007, the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2008 and Plymouth State University in May 2008. Kamen, "One of the world’s most prominent and prolific inventors", received the prestigious Stevens Honor Award on November 6, 2009, given by the Stevens Institute of Technology and the Stevens Alumni Association.