Dean Kamen, the engineer who invented the Segway, started out by inventing a wheelchair that can climb stairs. Many people felt that after this, the Segway was an anti-climax, and they haven’t done well on the market. But Kamen’s new idea, two devices that will bring electricity and clean water to rural third-world villages, could be inventions of major importance.
Erick Schonfeld reports that 1.1 billion people still don’t have access to electricity or clean drinking water. Kamen has invented two devices, each about the size of a washing machine, that can change all that. The water purifier creates 1,000 liters of clean water per day, no matter what kind of water you put into it. The power generator creates a kilowatt of electricity out of anything combustible.