SlingShot focuses on Segway inventor Dean Kamen, his fascinating life, and his work to solve the world’s water crisis.
Iconoclast, Kamen, is a modern hero. His inventions, mostly medical devices, help people in need and ease suffering. Several documentaries have been produced about the world’s dire water challenges. SlingShot is a film about an indomitable man who just might have enough passion, will, and innovative thinking to create a solution for a crisis that affects billions.
A quirky genius with a sharp wit and a provocative worldview, Kamen is our era’s Thomas Edison. 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 FIRST robotics to inspire young students, and on and on. Holder of over 440 U.S. and foreign patents, Kamen devotes himself to dreaming up products that improve people’s lives. For more than 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 an energy efficient vapor compression distiller that can turn any unfit source of water (seawater, poisoned well water, river sludge, etc.) 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. In Kamen’s imagining, undeveloped countries are filled with little Davids, and just like the biblical slingshot and stone, the SlingShot device is the tiny piece of technology that is going to take down the gigantic Goliath of bad water.
The SlingShot machine is capable of producing roughly 1000 liters (250 gallons) of pure, distilled water every day, using only the power of a hairdryer. It is the size of a small college dorm refrigerator. Once installed in a remote village, it can supply the daily water needs for up to 100 people, providing drinking, washing and cooking water. With this clean water supply, general health conditions will improve instantaneously.
Kamen has been struggling for well over fifteen years to get his SlingShot machines mass-produced and distributed around the world. He has gone to many organizations for help: the World Bank, the UN, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many other governmental agencies, and NGO’s. But, these entities are not set up to help mass manufacture the SlingShot technology or distribute Kamen’s machine to the poorest corners of the world.
Kamen and his company, DEKA Research, partnered with The Coca-Cola Company to conduct trials of the SlingShot technology in Ghana and Paraguay.
SlingShot traces the story of Dean Kamen’s water purification machine from its earliest development through recent trials in five schools in rural Ghana and beyond. Kamen’s passion and commitment to the impossible are as inspiring as his revolutionary technology.