COVID-19 Hero: FIRST Founder Dean Kamen Inspires Robotics Students to Develop Medical Solutions

Written By: Darren Garnick
  • 4/23/2020
  • Read Time : 3 min
Dean Kamen is a COVID-19 hero

Inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research and Development and the global nonprofit organization FIRST, has been leveraging his business resources to procure millions of medical masks and other protective gear for New Hampshire hospitals. According to a press release from New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Kamen’s supply chain expertise was vital in recently airlifting 91,000 pounds of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from Shanghai, China.

Kamen has also been dedicating his company’s engineering resources to develop immediate and future solutions to the COVID-19 crisis, including exploration on how to mass distribute DEKA’s Slingshot portable water purifier to ensure there is enough sterile water for hospitals.

“If we can make significant quantities of sterile solution in distributed locations around the country and around the world, it can help with another shortage that could become more critical than the masks shortage,” Kamen told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We are doubling down right now on figuring out how to make that machine capable of delivering sterile water and IV solution as quickly as possible.”

The inventor also told the newspaper that he has been hearing from high school FIRST Robotics Competition teams around the world about their volunteer efforts during the coronavirus pandemic..

“If every one of the teams makes a couple ventilators, it will substantially increase the total number of ventilators available,” he said.

PTC is proud to have been a FIRST Robotics Competition sponsor for a number of years and is pleased to be currently teaming up with FIRST on a virtual six-week Robots to the Rescue student competition. Using PTC’s Onshape product development platform that allows teams to easily collaborate remotely, student engineers are being challenged to design a robot that can solve a world problem. Examples would include a robot that delivers emergency food and supplies to people living in remote areas or a robot that cleans up pollution from the water or air.

PTC salutes Dean Kamen, DEKA Research and Development, and the FIRST organization, for helping develop solutions to the immediate and rapidly evolving problems posed by COVID-19.

Have a COVID-19 Hero you would like to nominate? Please reach out to Alexa Rice with details.

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About the Author

Darren Garnick

Darren Garnick is Content Director for Onshape at PTC. He is an Emmy-nominated multimedia journalist, filmmaker and business writer with extensive experience covering technology and innovation for high-tech companies. Darren holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, adventure travel, seeing different MLB ballparks, and finding kitschy roadside attractions.