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The winner will be announced when the exhibit travels to New York on May 24. Dean Kamen, famed inventor of the Segway personal transport and numerous medical devices, including a portable dialysis system, opened the exhibit in Boston this week, exhorting an audience of mostly school-aged children to study hard, yet keep their imaginations alive.

“You can get any fact you want on Google in seconds,” he said in an interview. “Having the facts doesn’t matter as much as having the imagination to know what to do with those facts. How do you connect the dots in a way that solves world problems?”

Kamen says this independent inventors award could encourage children to pursue science and technology. “In a free society, you get what you celebrate. So let’s celebrate things with content, then we’ll have our kids passionate to be the best at something – and it will be the things that matter. In Boston, we keep naming tunnels after people who can hit a rock with a stick. When are we going to name a tunnel after the guy who figured out how to make it possible?”

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