Remembering Earl Bakken, Inventor of the First Wearable, Battery-Powered Pacemaker

The IEEE Life Fellow co-founded the medical device company, Medtronic

4 min read
Photo of Earl Bakken
Photo: Medtronic

THE INSTITUTE IEEE Life Fellow Earl E. Bakken, cofounder of Medtronic, died 21 October at the age of 94.

Bakken started off his career by repairing electronic medical equipment in his Minneapolis garage. Few hospitals had the staff to maintain and fix such delicate devices, so they brought them to Bakken. Seeing the need for a company that specialized in designing and repairing medical machinery, Bakken and his brother-in-law Palmer Hermundslie founded Medtronic in Minneapolis in 1949. In its first year, the company made only US $8.

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Tony Fadell: The Nest Thermostat Disrupted My Life

The Nest founder tells of years in pursuit of a thermostat he actually likes

7 min read
A man holds a circular device in front of a blue wall that says nest on it.

Tony Fadell shows off the Nest thermostat in 2012.

Karsten Lemm/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

The thermostat chased me for 10 years.

That is pretty extreme, by the way. If you’ve got an idea for a business or a new product, you usually don’t have to wait a decade to make sure it’s worth doing.

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