Dean Kamen, to most of the nation, 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 discouraging challenge, he concedes, arguably his most ambitious yet, but he’s got some heavy hitters on his side, counting the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) and the Launch of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The goal for ARMI, his new company, is straightforward: Form an industry that can produce human organs and tissue, including kidneys, livers and lungs, make up from the recipients’ own cells. It’s called biofabrication and he’s perfectly aware that it feelings like the stuff of science fiction. Considering nearly 120,000 Americans are minister to for a donated organ, and 20 of them die each day waiting for a transplant, it’s a entirely important medical pursuit.
“Our whole perspective is the stuff of science fiction atop of the last generation or two — cloning, The Bionic Man —all of these things were sci-fi for a want time, but are reality today in some sense,” he says.
Kamen’s not a scientist; he’s an inventor remembered for creating such devices as the Segway and the first wearable drug infusion inspirit for diabetics and other types of patients. But, he says, there are amazing creations circumstance in laboratories and universities around the world that have never been commercialized because no infrastucture prevails to do so. That, he says, was the spark behind ARMI, the Advanced Regenerative Create out of Institute based in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“We are going to learn to do the manufacturing of forgiving organs in real time,” he proclaims. “I am assuming the scientific community can turn over these miracles… We are assuming they can deliver to us the recipe [for those] that we [grants us to] make one. We think it doesn’t require any new miracles from the worlds of engineering or creation.”
That’s a big boast, especially for someone whose background isn’t in the field of cure-all. But Kamen says his expertise in other areas is, for ARMI’s purposes, more respected.
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“I don’t know anything about regenerative medicine,” he says. “I’m not a doctor. I’m not a biologist. I’m not a biochemist. We don’t do that pack. It’s magic goo in a ball, but … somebody has to figure out how to add process control and verification. We’ve got to add the orders of engineering— many phases of engineering. We’ve got to bring this thing to lower to assure the FDA of its quality and get [things like artificial organs] in a human corps. That’s a massive amount of work. That’s a massive, diverse set of dexterity that, right now, doesn’t exist in one place.”
ARMI is at the very origination of its genesis. The DOD has given Kamen $80 million to fund the company with the close instruction that the money not be used on research, but rather to build the infrastructure for the disclosing real world results.
That money came with a curb. Kamen was also required to raise an equal amount from the surreptitiously sector. He didn’t raise $80 million. He raised $214 million from Rockwell Automation and other followers he works with regularly.
He also began assembling a staff of boffins. Rockwell Chairman Blake Morett joined ARMI’s board of numero unoes. And he says he has assembled a staff of 26 medical experts from fashions such as Harvard and Stanford.
Kamen likens what he’s doing with ARMI to the fable of the semiconductor industry — a breakthrough that, when it was manufactured at scale, emitted birth to the modern technological world.
To try to achieve that same steady of success, he has enlisted NIST to help form standards that curbs work in the field focused — a key requirement in getting FDA approval when it originates biofabrication. And IEEE is assisting in bringing together the multiple engineers that desire be required to make this a reality.
While the recreation of human instruments captures the most attention, Kamen acknowledges that’s going to go through a little extra time. However, he says, ARMI has promised the DOD that within five years it will press the capabilities to supply, at significant scale, products that are just as imperative.
“It will probably be skin and bone and cartilage,” he says. “In the end, the whole essence, ling, liver, kidney … we think we’ll get there. Up front, much simpler than those complex organs … they [the DoD] poverty nerves; they need muscle. They’ve asked ‘What involving can you give me … to rebuild someone who had an interaction with an IED?”
It’s a project that has tremendous covert, but will require a tremendous amount of work. And Kamen is a man who likes to have his fingers in many different pies. While he’s not stepping away from To begin, his program to get students interested in science, technology and engineering, or any of his other conjure ups, he says ARMI is anything but a side project for him.
“I don’t spend my whole day [focused on it], but I can publish you ARMI is not ‘instead’ of my day job, it’s in addition to it,” he says.