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Dean Kamen Issues Call to Action to Semiconductor Industry at Semico Summit 2011

Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of DEKA and First, delivered the keynote address at the Semico Summit 2011.  He also received Semico’s Bellwether Award, granted annually to a visionary leader in the technology industry.  Dean has invented the insulin pump, a portable dialysis machine, the iBot mobility system, the Segway people mover, a prosthetic arm for DARPA, and a self-contained water cleaning and purification system, among other things.

The topic of Dean’s presentation was innovation, and how the United States is lagging behind in terms of educating and inspiring our youth to become innovators.  We take invention for granted because we have so much technology around us.  However, in developing countries, they are ready to take risks at much lower investment levels.

In the United States, we have the lowest percentage of kids going into science and technology in the world.  We also have the highest percentage of kids dropping out of high school in the world.  “Innovation should be thought of as a gift from one generation to the next,” Kamen said.

Dean believes we have a culture problem, where it is the tech industry, not lawyers and politicians, that needs to support a long-term serious commitment to science and technology.

Dean called those in attendance to action, saying that we need to get involved in fostering enthusiasm in science and technology in children.  Through First, Dean makes science and engineering more fun.  A Brandeis University study showed that First program alumni are 50% more likely to go to college than their peers, and twice as likely to major in science and engineering.  To learn more about how you can get involved, go to

Adrienne Downey,

Director of Technology Research