Subj: IT
Date: 1/13/01 6:59:27 PM Pacific Standard Time
From:    (Ron)

I'm sure you get a lot of email on this subject, but here's another take on IT:
In the now famous patent for the personal mobility device, rumored to be IT, two illustrations have been revealed. I believe the 2-wheeled model with the girl on it is "Ginger" or the "Metro" model, while the male sketch is the "Pro" model. But neither of these little gizmos, while in themselves "cute", "goofy", and maybe even "magic", are capable of changing the world as we know it. So what's the problem with Jobs and the boys? Here we all thought them to be smarter than that. Just more hype, huh? Read on.
Another Kamen patent is for a "foot controlled computer input device". Absolutely related to IT, no doubt.
Another patent, the thing that has Steve Jobs drooling, is for a "Sterling Engine" design. Remember them? Invented in the 1880s and highly publicized in the 1970s as the engine of the future. Remember all the valves and how bulky they were? Remember how somehow you never heard about them any more? (We're still pumping gas, but more about that later.) I suspect the IT models are really "Sterling Cycles" (I bet Kamen just loves the pun). But how on earth could he fit a Sterling engine into one of these little bikes?
Well, remember a few years ago when the scientific journals carried a blurb about some scientists who created an "acoustic" Sterling engine? It was an aluminum ballbat shaped thingy filled with helium and powered by, of all things, sound waves. Big honking sound waves like Bezos' laugh. An electrical circuit connected to some powerwockin' transducers coaxes the helium into doing work through standing pressure waves. Small and oh so efficient. The scientists suspected that a small generator could maybe be powered by it. They speculated that it could maybe even change the world, supplying enough power for a house. (Woops! There goes the power grid! Can't have that!) For now the new gizmo was going to be maybe used as a cooling pump in refrigerators (That's benign enough, go ahead with the research.)
Well, I believe Dean Kamen has indeed continued the research. I believe the ITs are powered by acoustic Sterling engines. I think they use a small battery to drive the transducers and the little engine that could merrily pumps its helium around and off we go. Innocent enough. Probably won't change the world too much. But as Jobs said, the "underlying technologies" sure the heck will. And we aren't talking about unicycles or self-balancing yo-yos, were talking about the closest thing to "free" energy yet developed. Not quite even a unity device, but so close that you won't need to recharge your IT very often (or the generator powering your house.) And while those in the third world might consider those American unicycle toys a waste of technology, they sure will gobble up those little super-efficient generators that are coming.
So, if Kamen, Jobs, and the boys are such shrewd and intelligent buisnessmen, then how come they let the cat out of the bag? It only took the Internet a couple of days to uncover what they are probably up to. Surely they are more clever than that. Indeed they are. You see, we have to KNOW about the IT. We must want IT. We must want all of IT. We must want IT so bad that no oil company or government bureau can take IT away from us. And so that's were we all come in, and why these very clever gentlemen have just tipped their hand.
IT must never go the way of the 100 mpg carburetor. I know, that's just an urban legend, right? Perhaps.