Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dean Kamen, humanitarian inventor and...soda machine revolutionary?

Dean Kamen is a pretty swell guy.  He's the inventor of the Segway, a wheelchair that can climb stairs and a water purifier that make some of the most contaminated water drinkable. 
Nathan got a strawberry Fanta.  I got a Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero.  They were delicious.
Nate is currently doing his 6th grade biography project on Kamen, and recently asked me if we could make a trip to Taco Time as part of his "research".  The Taco Time near our house was a pretty popular place a few years ago when they introduced the area's first Coca-Cola "Freestyle" machine.  A computerized, touch-screen soda fountain that offers over 125 beverage flavors.  It was invented by Dean Kamen.

At first I was hesitant to believe Nate.  Why would Dean Kamen, a humanitarian, make such a "silly" innovation?  It turns out that several years ago, Coke approached him and asked to sponsor his FIRST program, a project aimed at getting kids involved in STEM education.  Kamen, however, saw Coke being able to help him with a different project, giving children everywhere access to clean water.  In a bit of a "I'll scratch your back..." maneuver  he used technology he had already created for chemotherapy machines and created the Freestyle.

You can read more about it here: http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/oct2009/id2009107_810817.htm




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