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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rep. Thomas Massie - A Modern Day Ben Franklin

The Tea Party has produced some remarkable leaders but few are as remarkable as Rep. Thomas Massie from Kentucky's 4th congressional district. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT. He and his wife who he has known since grade school started a company, SensAble Devices Inc, which later became SensAble Technologies which at one time held 30 patents, employed 70 people, and raised $32 million from venture capitalists. Crunchbase describes the company;
SensAble Technologies, Inc. offers force-feedback haptic devices and touch-enabled 3D modeling software solutions. Its products include FreeForm Modeling Systems, which are 3D touch-enabled systems for medical and dental modeling, product design, digital content creation, and fine arts; and The SensAble Dental Lab System, a digital system for scanning, 3D modeling and design, and 3D fabrication.
He began tinkering with haptic devices at MIT where he won the 1995 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize which came with a $30,000 prize. From MIT's web site:
The PHANTOM—Massie's most notable invention—is a haptic computer interface that enables users to "feel" physical objects in cyberspace. By inserting their fingers into swiveling thimbles that connect to mechanical arms, users are able to sense the shape, size and consistency of objects on a computer screen. The PHANTOM allows designers and engineers to create and interact with objects in 3-D without actually building them. It can even train doctors to perform surgery on "virtual patients." Massie collaborated with MIT Professor Kenneth Salisbury at the Artificial Intelligence Lab to develop and build the prototype.

Sound like something you might do? In any event Massie eventually sold his business and returned to his native Lewis County. He personally designed and built this timber frame, off the grid, solar powered home. He says conservatives should hate the subsidies but love the solar panels. Better yet, he wrote a blog while doing it.

He was elected Judge Executive of Lewis County in 2010 and began campaigning for Rand Paul who was running for the Senate. In December of 2011 Republican Geoff Davis resigned from Congress citing "family health problems". Massie won the special election with endorsements from Rand Paul, Ron Paul, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, Gun Owners of America, and Young Americans for Liberty. Recently he and Rep. Justin Amash stayed in Washington while the rest of Congress was on vacation to prevent any attempt to re extend the Patriot Act through parliamentary subterfuge.

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