Dean Kamen has teamed up with Forum Nokia to encourage young mobile developers to create the next big application to benefit society. The contest “Calling All Innovators,” which they announced today at Web Expo 2.0 in New York, will award up to $150,000 dollars to the winner, and Nokia will help him or her to distribute the application.
The application must be designed for emerging societies where resources are scarce — so as cool as throwing sheep or poking someone may be on Facebook, those sorts of apps aren’t going to make the cut. They have to be more along the lines of what one developer did in India — he created a business that allows farmers to control their water pumps with handheld devices.
“A lot of people that play with technology in general frankly disappoint me,” Kamen says. “Because they use technology to do what you can do with technology instead of what you should do.”
“We don’t need 3 million kids working on the next great game,” he added.
Seven years ago Kamen unveiled a vehicle that many believed would change the world (Steve Jobs compared it to the rise of the PC), and while the Segway may not quite have lived up to the hype, his other work is having much more of an impact.
He founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) an organization that works with high schoolers around the world to promote the study of science and technology. And in addition to his work with artificial limbs and medical devices, he has also developed relatively inexpensive water purification and electricity generating units for remote villages. He says the mobile applications could potentially be used to make sure all the issues around the infrastructure of his devices from the bottom up work. Including micro financing and maintenance. (From Wired.com)