miércoles, diciembre 02, 2009

Dean Kamen * Island

The idea of a brilliant visionary secluding himself on a private island is an old one, from Doctor Moreau’s tropical isle of genetic mishaps, to the secret lair of James Bond’s arch nemesis Dr. No.

But few would argue that inventor Dean Kamen qualifies as an evil super villain. Holder of more than 150 patents including the Segway, Kamen is a pioneer not only in the field of eco-friendly transportation, but is also the engineer of invaluable medical and robotic devices like prosthetic limbs and mobility chairs. And when he wants relative peace and quiet, he retires to North Dumpling Island, a 2-acre speck in Connecticut’s Long Island Sound.

Bought for a reported $2.5M in 1986, the island has a sprawling remodelled lighthouse for a home and boasts a small replica of Stonehenge. Living up to the “eccentric inventor” stereotype, denial of a permit for a wind-electricity turbine led him to (jokingly) secede as his own little country- complete with a newspaper, constitution and currency- not to mention an extensive cabinet of Kamen’s friends (including the Minister of Nepotism). But Americans can breath a sigh of relief, because the inventor’s island nation won’t pose much of a threat- “Lord Dumpling” willingly signed a non-aggression pact with his buddy, former president George H. W. Bush.

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