Fellow Long Islander Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and other devices, has developed a machine
based upon his home dialysis unit that he believes can help solve the world's water crisis. It is essentially a distillation device that can take crappy water and turn it into pure water.
The video below is Kamen's brief story about how his invention worked in a trial in a Ghana village.
Here is the blurb at the video's website:
Best known for his Segway Personal Transporter, inventor Dean Kamen is taking on the world’s great challenges one invention at a time. SlingShot is the story of Kamen, his water purification technology, and his innovative approach to the planet’s safe water crisis. This film is a Finalist in the $200,000 FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition and is in the running to become the $100,000 Grand Prize Winner. It could also be named an Audience Favorite, so if you love it, vote for it! Click on the VOTE button in the top right corner of the video player.
Knock yourself out.
I received an email with a link to the video and this message:
I just found this video about Dean Kamen and his new invention to try to solve the water crisis. If the video gets picked in the top 5 it premieres at Sundance which could be huge for raising awareness. Just thought you might be interested in featuring it on your blog. Thanks!
The village venue is a great photo op. But will the unit still be working in a year if the people are not trained in its O&M? Is power required? Who will supply replacement parts? How will O&M be financed? Governance issues? Have the villagers 'bought in" to the concept? Kamen is a brilliant inventor but he displays naivete if he thinks that this will help people at the village level achieve sustainability vis-a-vis potable drinking water.
One thing I find ironic is Kamen's disdain for 'top-down' approaches to water problems. So his is a 'bottom-up' approach?
Will it raise awareness of a problem requiring immediate attention? Yes. Will it help? Not really, although it might in certain isolated instances; it would probably be more useful in disaster relief. But as far as a sustainable drinking water solution for developing regions go, this needs to be as quickly dismissed as the Gates toilet.
So much for '21st century solutions'. Sometimes more than engineering is needed.
[Note added on 6 December: I just received another email, this one from Paul Lazarus (or rather his assistant).]
Dear Michael Campana,
Like you, we are concerned about the world's water supply and we could really use your help. Please forgive the group letter.PLEASE PUT THIS IMPORTANT VIDEO UP ON YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE AND HELP ATTRACT WORLDWIDE ATTENTION TO THIS VITAL CAUSE.
Here's a link to the video:
This week, our short documentary entitled SLINGSHOT went public as a semi-finalist in the Focus Forward Film Competition. It's a 3-minute movie about inventor Dean Kamen (Segway) and his work to alleviate the world's safe water crisis. Kamen's SlingShot technology could help millions upon millions of people get clean water. Viewers can now vote for the video as an "audience favorite." There were entries from over 60 countries on six continents. We are hoping to be selected as one of the five finalists which are screened at Sundance in early January.Please WATCH, VOTE and SHARE! The rules allow EVERYONE TO VOTE 10X EVERY DAY up until December 20th. Please pass it forward.This movie and your votes could help us achieve our dream of spreading the word about the life-saving SlingShot technology and bring hope and health to the millions of people around the world that need clean, safe water.Sincerely - p
This is starting to appear to be more about Kamen and the film than about bringing clean water to those less fortunate.
Am I going to vote for this? Dream on.
"The road to help is paved with good intentions." - Tracy Baker