Prototype Online: Historian David Rhees tours the "Medical Alley" hot spot

July 16, 2011

How did Minnesota spawn a world-class cluster of medical device companies? David Rhees begins the “Medical Alley” hot spot story in 1949, when Earl Bakken co-founded Medtronic as a repair shop for medical electronics, before the company became a world-leading medical device manufacturer. In 1957, with Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Minnesota, Bakken developed the first wearable, external, battery-powered, transistorized pacemaker. Rhees describes Minnesota’s evolving health care industry and culture of innovation.