Dean Kamen doesn’t think small. He’s known to most of the world as the inventor of the Segway, but his idea to revolutionize transportation is peanuts compared to his other successes in the medical devices field, science and engineering education, and water purification technology. And if that sounds eclectic, it’s only the beginning of Kamen’s far-reaching and ambitious list of projects. The latest is an energy generator that promises cleaner, more flexible and always-available electricity. Kamen already has a prototype version, and he wants to work with the telecommunications industry to make it commercially viable.
So what is Kamen’s great new invention? It doesn’t have a name yet, but Kamen refers to it as a Stirling engine. Stirling engines were introduced in the 19th century, but have had limited practical application since then, largely because of cost issues.