Re: Let the Hype Begin!

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 10 2001 - 16:14:56 MST

I think all this is pretty doubtful.. Stirling engines are not what I would
call a "mass consumer" product, which is supposedly what IT is. And as you
see, it is not a secret they are working on that.

And it also doubtful that it is anything like the hockey puck thing that
would require new city infrastructure even before it could be used. The
article states they expect this to be the most successful startup in history
within its first year- can't do that if you have to build new highways first.

I am sticking with either personal telepresence robot, or maybe some kind
of personal helicopter. I don't think it can be any kind of normal ground
transport since that doesn't solve the existing traffic problems in cities. wrote:
> Brian D Williams, <>, writes:
> > This guy was the subject of an article in WIRED months ago,
> > supposedly he was working on perfecting the Stirling (sp) engine
> > for use as a portable power source.
> BTW I found the original article forwarded here at
> They also have a message board where
> people can put up their guesses, which is where I think the human
> air-hockey puck idea came from.
> The Wired article Brian mentions was
> Lately, Kamen has broadened his work beyond health care. He believes
> technology and ingenuity can solve all kinds of social ills - like
> pollution, limited access to electricity, and contaminated water
> in many third-world countries, where bacteria from human feces in
> drinking water is a leading cause of cholera. To help ameliorate
> the water problem, Deka's team of 170 engineers is working on a
> nonpolluting engine - funded by several million dollars of Kamen's
> own money - based on a concept first floated in the early 1800s but
> never realized.
> The device is called the Stirling engine; Kamen hopes it can be
> developed into an affordable, portable machine that will run a
> water purifier/power generator that could zap contaminated H20 with
> a UV laser to make it safe for drinking. "It can burn any fuel, and
> you can do all kinds of things with it," he says. "It might be very
> valuable in emerging economies, giving them access to electricity,
> even the Net."
> This sounds like a likely guess given the size of the device described
> in the article (fits in a duffle bag, roughly). However the Wired
> article goes on to say,
> Another project, to be unveiled in the next year, will necessitate
> building "the largest company in New Hampshire," Kamen says with
> characteristic bravura. He's shy about details, except to say it
> involves a consumer device unrelated to health care and will require
> $100 million in financing. Among the investors: Kleiner Perkins.
> The secrecy might point to this as IT rather than the Stirling engine,
> although it could be misdirection, the factory actually being for
> producing the engine.
> Hal

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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