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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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da Vinci(R) Surgical System Robot and Blue Man Group to Invade This Year's Boston FIRST Robotics Competition
Judges Include iRobot Co-Founder, Colin Angle and Assistant Chief Engineer for the Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle, Alexandra Cattelan

BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/10/09 -- The Boston FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Committee today announced that Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci® Surgical System, which allows surgeons to perform procedures remotely with the use of robotic technology, will be on display and demonstrated at this year's robotics competition.

This year's competition will be held March 6 & 7 at Boston University's Agganis Arena.

Dr. Hiep Nguyen, co-director of the Center for Robotic Surgery at Children's Hospital Boston, will be a featured speaker during Saturday's competition and will also provide a demonstration of the da Vinci Surgical System. Dr. Nguyen will detail how the robot is used at Children's Hospital to perform minimally invasive, laparoscopic procedures -- ensuring a quicker healing time and all-around better experience for the patients treated there.

For the second year, Blue Man Group, the multimedia entertainment phenomenon, will perform during the opening ceremony for the competition's Final Matches: Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 12:45pm. This special live appearance will showcase the Blue Man signature music and trademark excitement, and is open to the public. Blue Man Group in Boston is best known for their wildly popular ongoing theatrical show at the Charles Playhouse that combines theatrics with music, comedy and state-of-the-art technology producing a totally unique form of entertainment.

"We are really excited for this year's competition and are delighted to be able to highlight how robots are transforming healthcare delivery," said Marc Hodosh, Chairman Boston FIRST and President of TEDMED. "I am also excited to have Blue Man returning for a second year in a row; the excitement they brought last year fired up the competition and inspired our participants."

For this year's competition, "Lunacy," robots are designed to pick up 9" balls and score them in trailers hitched to their opponents' robots for points during a 2 minute and 15 second match. Additional points are awarded for scoring a special game ball, the Super Cell, in the opponents' trailers during the last 20 seconds of the match. "Lunacy" is played on a low-friction floor, which means teams must contend with the laws of physics.

Once again, this year's competition is possible through generous donations from some of the area's leading corporations and educational institutions such as Boston University, MIT & MIT Lincoln Laboratory, P&G Gillette, Analogic Corporation, PTC, Textron, Draper Laboratory, The Mathworks and many other supporting and respected organizations.

In just three years, the Boston Regional has become one of the most popular regional events in the country. Last year's competition attracted an audience of over 7,000.

About FIRST

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to promote an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the non-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students and the FIRST Lego League for children 9-14 years old. To learn more about FIRST, go to http://www.usfirst.org. To learn more about Boston FIRST and the Boston Regional Competition, please visit http://www.BostonFIRST.org

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