Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thank you Dean Kamen!

Dean Kamen is one of the world's all-time greatest
inventors. He is most famous for the invention of the
Segway. While the Segway is, in my opinion, a cool toy,
it's some of his other inventions which have dramatically
changed people's lives that I find so outstanding.

Kamen invented the first portable insulin pump and the
first portable dialysis machine. This meant that people
who had to be hospitalized for treatment could now get
their treatment in the comfort of their own homes.

Over a billion people do not have access to clean drinking
water. Over a billion people do not have electricity. Kamen
has invented two devices, each one about the size of a washing
machine that can provide power and clean water in rural villages.

And then there is the iBOT. Although it hasn't changed the lives
of billions of people, it has changed my life. For that, I am
extremely grateful.

How has the iBOT changed my life? The following is an account
of some of what has happened in the past 24 hrs that have made
me stop and think, "I am so thankful for the iBOT!"

1. Yesterday I went downtown to meet up with some friends for
lunch. I parked in a ramp, next to the elevator. After un-
loading, I went to use the elevator only to find it was out
of order. I had to go clear to the other side of the parking
ramp to use the other elevator. While I could have done this
in my manual chair, it would've been a killer on my shoulders.

2. The restaurant wasn't a sit down and get served kind of
restaurant. It was a look through the clear plastic at the
food and pick out what you want kind of place. Had I been in
my manual, I wouldn't have been able to see very well what
was available. Also, I would have had to yell to the person
on the other side of the plastic. With the iBOT in Balance
Function, I could easily see what was available and I could
easily communicate with the restaurant workers.

3. The eating tables were high tables. The kind where you
have to sit on barstool type chairs. I just left the BOT in
Balance Function and pulled up comfortably under the high table.
In my manual chair, or in any other wheelchair, I would have had
to eat with the plate on my lap, and I would have had an eye to
butt conversation with my friends.

4. I had some time to waste after lunch so I went by the
library. The iBOT in Balance Function came in handy
when reaching for books on the upper shevles.

5. My daughter had a small performance she was participating
in. Once again, the Balance Function was utilized so that
I could see her performance clearly. No fat asses obstructing
my view like at her last performance.

6. After the performance I conversed with other parents for
a bit. As always, having an eye to eye conversation with them
is always preferable to the eye to butt conversation I would
have had in any other wheelchair.

7. Rain. It kinda rains A LOT this time of the year in
Portland. Not a problem in the BOT. In my manual chair
I cannot hold an umbrella and push myself at the same time.
In the BOT I can hold an umbrella. Also, in my manual
chair, the wheels pick up the water and then my sleeves
drag on the wet wheels - soaking my arm sleeves. Not fun.
I arrived back home that day dry and not frustrated, all
thanks to the iBOT!

Those were yesterday's events. With it being cold and rainy,
I didn't do a whole lot outside of the house. Inside the
house I don't use my iBOT. It's too big for my little house
and I've found my manual chair much easier to use when inside.
Today being a weekend and another cold and wet day, I've
been home most of the day. I did use the iBOT when I took
the dogs to the dog park though.

8. The dog park is pretty much a mud pit these days.
Totally impossible to get around in in my manual chair,
but completely manageable in the BOT. The dogs love to
go down to the river beach. I love going there as well.
It's peaceful and lovely and it is one of my top 2
favorite places here in Portland. To get there I had
to go through a muddy path covered with wet fallen
leaves. My daughter was walking ahead of me and at one
point when we were going downhill, she slipped on some
wet leaves. She turned around and said, "Careful, it's
slippery there". The BOT had no problem. No slippage
occured! After the muddy path we had to go through a
rocky area and then soft sand. The iBOT handled all of
it with ease. None of it would have been possible in
any other wheelchair.

Mr. Dean Kamen, thank you SO much. You have a brilliant
mind, and I am so thankful that you use it to help
make this a better world. I've read lots of interviews
and articles about you. I remember one interview where
you were asked which of your inventions you are most
proud of. You said it hasn't been invented yet. I
can't wait to see what else you come up with.

You've said that your epitaph might read, "He left the
world a better place than he found it. He gave more than
he took out—and he took out a lot." Although you haven't
left the world yet, you've certainly already made it a
better place. As for giving more than you've taken, I'd
say your safe there. You have given more than you've taken.
So much more.

1 comment:

rfbdorf said...

I hope that Kamen finds his way to your blog - it's a nice testimonial to the results of his efforts.
- Richard