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Dean Kamen

Famous for: Segway personal transporter

Dean Kamen holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, and is probably the most famous for inventing the Segway personal transporter.

In order to get that many patents in one lifetime, he started pretty young: He got his first patent when he was 17 for an insulin pump. His mom had to sign the papers!

Frustrated by how far behind the U.S. has fallen in innovation, and how kids are more inclined to be sports stars than engineers, he started FIRST and organized the FIRST Robotics competition to get them as jazzed about science and technology as they are about sports.

Why is it called FIRST? “Because you never heard a kid say he wanted to be No. 2!” Kamen quipped.

Photo: Getty Images