May the FORCE be with Kamen

May+the+FORCE+be+with+Kamen

Sue Hay

Teresa Randlett, Staff Writer

This past Saturday Hollis Brookline High School’s very own FIRST Robotics team, FORCE 1073, participated in a competition at Goffstown High School. But this meet was not a normal FIRST competition. The members of the team dressed up as Dean Kamen, entrepreneur and inventor of the Segway.

Not only did they dress up in celebration of Halloween, but also in honor of Dean Kamen’s newest revolutionary invention–one that he hopes will affect the whole world and change the lives of millions.

The Slingshot.

Born a New Yorker, Kamen has ideas just as big as his home city, and his invention is nothing less than revolutionary. His idea consists of a three hundred pound and about three foot tall box that will bring fresh water to the world. The simplistic design masks the true potential of the machine.

The small box is a clean water machine called the Slingshot which, despite its size, is extremely powerful. Producing thirty liters of purified water per hour, the Slingshot is a completely foreign idea to the world. The amount of energy used during the hour of purification is equivalent to the amount of energy used when blow drying hair with a standard blow dryer.

The Slingshot is powerful, but a great quantity of boxes must be manufactured and distributed in order to make an impact. In a year, one Slingshot will make enough water for three hundred people, which is around 365,000 liters of water.

A member of HBHS’s very own FIRST team, Athena LaJeunesse ‘16, believes that Kamen is “such a big role model to all these FIRST students” and is “making people think of the possibilities of what we can all do with engineering”. LaJeunesse also says, “He’s not all about the gadgets and segways or even making money; he’s about helping people and the world.”

After creating a partnership with Coca-Cola, the Slingshot is now in the process of being transported and set up in impoverished places across the world such as rural communities in Latin America and Africa.

Though Kamen is President of DEKA Research and Development Corporation, he had not been able to get the Slingshot into production. But this fall, he finally collaborated with Coca-Cola, and the Slingshot took off. The partnership has allowed the project to grow to its full potential and Kamen’s invention will hopefully lead to a worldwide impact. Since only two percent of the world’s water drinkable, the Slingshot can help create more fresh water globally.

Kamen hopes to eventually have people travelling on foot to deliver his invention, to even the most remote places in India and Africa.

The FORCE team at Hollis Brookline High School and surrounding FIRST Robotics teams were invited recently to attend Dean Kamen’s “Slingshot” documentary in a private viewing. The documentary spanned over a seven year period of time, with filmmakers following Kamen around his home here in New Hampshire. FIRST Robotics teams were especially invited to the viewing due to the fact that Kamen is the founder of FIRST Robotics. Although our FIRST team did not attend, the invite itself is quite an honor.