Tuesday, May 20, 2014 7:30pm
Iconoclast Dean Kamen is a modern hero. His inventions, mostly medical devices, help people in need and ease suffering.
A quirky genius with a sharp wit and a provocative worldview, Kamen is our era’s Thomas Edison with a little Howard Hughes mixed in. He takes on the world’s grand challenges one invention at a time. Best known for his Segway Human Transporter, Kamen has reconceived kidney dialysis, engineered an electric wheelchair that can travel up stairs (the iBot), reworked the heart stent, built portable insulin pumps, founded the FIRST robotics competition to inspire young students, and on and on. Holder of over 440 patents, Kamen devotes himself to dreaming up products that improve people’s lives.
For the last 15 years, he has relentlessly pursued an effective way to clean up the world’s water supply.
Fifty percent of all human illness is the result of water borne pathogens. Dean Kamen has invented a small, energy efficient vapor compression distiller that can turn any unfit source of water (seawater, poisoned well water, river sludge, or even a “50 gallon tank of urine,” as Stephen Colbert put it) into potable, safe water without any need for chemical additives or filters. Kamen has nicknamed his device the SlingShot, as in the David and Goliath story—a tiny technological solution that can take down a giant problem. But despite the brilliance of his solution, getting these machines into villages around the world has been a long and frustrating journey.
With unparalleled access over the course of many years to this eccentric, charismatic and intensely private man, SlingShot is an inspiring portrait of an American legend who commutes to work in a helicopter he flies, lives in a house with secret passageways and wears the same denim outfit everyday. It is the story of an indomitable man who just might have enough passion, will, and innovative thinking to create a solution for a crisis that affects billions.
SlingShot has won Audience Awards at Cinequest, Florida Film Festival and Kansas City Film Festival.