Dean Kamen, to most of the country, is known as the person who invented the Segway. But ultimately, he wants to be known as the man who revolutionized healthcare.
It's a daunting challenge, he concedes, arguably his most ambitious yet, but he's got some heavy hitters on his side, including the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The goal for ARMI, his new company, is straightforward: Create an industry that can produce human organs and tissue, including kidneys, livers and lungs, fabricated from the recipients' own cells. It's called biofabrication and he's perfectly aware that it sounds like the stuff of science fiction. Considering nearly 120,000 Americans are waiting for a donated organ, and 20 of them die each day waiting for a transplant, it's a very important medical pursuit.
"Our whole perspective is the stuff of science fiction over the last generation or two — cloning, The Bionic Man —all of these things were sci-fi for a long time, but are reality today in some sense," he says.