Good Morning America Soon to Reveal IT

ByABC News via logo
November 29, 2001, 11:51 PM

Dec. 3 -- It all started in January, when word leaked out that a publisher had paid a $250,000 advance for a book about IT, a device by inventor Dean Kamen that the editor said could transform our lives, our cities and our thinking.

Scientists and tycoons were the only ones who had seen IT.

"You know it's more important than pantyhose, and it's more important than the Internet," said Bob Metcalfe, a fellow inventor and founder of 3Com Corporation, who spoke to Good Morning America in an interview last January.

"Bigger than the Internet you say?" anchor Charlie Gibson asked.

"If it works out in terms of its impact on the economy and the environment, yes," Metcalfe replied.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs got an early look, as did Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Bezos laughed so hard when he saw IT that he fell off his chair, but both men were sworn to secrecy about what IT was.

"While [Kamen] has shared it with me, he also asked very strongly to keep it to myself and I'm certainly not going to let that confidence down," Bezos said.

In search of IT, ABCNEWS' correspondent Don Dahler paid a visit to where Kamen lives and works in New Hampshire. Kamen is responsible for devising the heart stent used on Vice President Dick Cheney, and for creating portable insulin pumps and inventing the iBot, a wheelchair that climbs stairs.

Kamen had code-named the iBot "Fred." His code name for IT? Ginger.

IT Is a Guessing Game

It has been a full year of guessing: What is IT? In offices and cafés, regular folks and techies alike started hazarding guesses as to what IT might be.

"I'm hoping it's some kind of jetpack... that would be fun," said one woman.

Good Morning America's news anchor Antonio Mora did an interview with Kamen, but didn't get too far.

"So it isn't cold fusion?" Mora asked.

"It is not cold fusion," Kamen said.

"It's not going to beam Scotty anywhere?" Mora pressed.

"It's not going to beam Scotty anywhere," Kamen said.

"It's not a better mousetrap?" Mora asked, giving it one last shot.