Dean wins award for Segway

Some snips from the article {with comments in braces}:

SAN FRANCISCO–Altering the future ain’t what it used to be.
At least that was the sense you got talking to some of the world-changing inventors gathered here Wednesday night for the presentation of the Lemelson-MIT Awards, which recognize key American inventors.

The main case in point was the evening’s honoree, Segway scooter inventor Dean Kamen, who received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The very model of the independent, garage-office genius, Kamen promised to use the money to fund his educational program for inspiring young scientists and inventors {I think he means FIRST!}.

After a brief thank-you speech delivered while he zipped back and forth on a Segway prototype, Kamen spent the rest of the evening schmoozing with fellow inventors while astride his electric steed.

Kamen, whose denim ensemble clashed notably with the predominant tuxedoes, said he created the Segway with the noble goal of creating a clean, working-class alternative to messier forms of urban transportation.

“Every city is polluted,” he said. “I don’t want to make (the Segway) the next Jet Ski, snowmobile, all terrain vehicle for the rich.”

The Stirling motor inside the device will also be used for the developing world. “It will supply electricity and water and other things to a developing world that needs them,” he proclaimed. {actually, the Segway doesn’t contain a Sterling engine, which is a technology that is still in its infancy, and little more than a novelty at this point}.

As he spoke to a small crowd of people gathered by the martini bar, a museum official scurried up with a clipboard for a Lemelson Foundation official. “I am going to need you to sign a release of liability for him,” he said, pointing at Kamen teetering on his Segway.

Although Kamen was the focus for the evening, Sigrid Cerf, wife of the Internet patriarch, took the prize for the most inventive item shown that evening. After carrying on a 15-minute conversation, she explained that the plastic necklace she was wearing was a wave array invented by Bernard Widrow. It captures conversations and transmits them through a series of processors and wires to her inner ear. She has been deaf since the age of 3, but you’d never know it speaking to her.