Scroll down for a copy of the winning essay and a link to event photos.
On March 23, 2004 students from MS 390, a public middle school in Bronx, NY received a one-of-a-kind visit from ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, as their prize for winning the national ASIMO Essay Contest. ASIMO’s visit to MS 390 was the result of a winning essay written by nine students in teacher Eileen McNamee’s Robolab class. The essay, written by Asetta Ramsey, Andrea Dove, Luz Villar, Joshua Hernandez, Max Cruz, Hawoly Diop, Jarette Billings, Kimisha Bostick and Ariel McKinley, was selected from among the more than 560 students nationwide who participated in the contest with entries from schools in 23 states.
MS 390 students were overjoyed to find out that they had won the contest and anxiously awaited ASIMO’s arrival. On the morning of March 23, colorful banners and drawings of ASIMO created by the students hung in the school’s main entrance and welcomed ASIMO to MS 390. Also on display were a number of amazing robots built by the students in the school’s Robolab program, the only one of its kind in the Bronx.
Throughout the day all 1,080 pre-K through eighth grade students attended ASIMO demonstrations in the school’s auditorium. Students were astonished when the curtains opened to reveal ASIMO on stage. The entire audience cheered and laughed as ASIMO danced, balanced on one leg and even climbed stairs. At the end of each show, students were also treated to a special question and answer session where they were able to ask questions about ASIMO. In addition to the students, faculty and staff of MS 390, a number of local government officials were in attendance to congratulate MS 390 on their exemplary achievement. The school also received a letter of congratulations from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
To read more about MS390’s amazing achievement, click here for the press release.
Although ASIMO’s visit to the Bronx marked the final stop on the “Say Hello to ASIMO” North American Educational Tour, ASIMO will continue to make appearances across the country and is headed to San Francisco, CA!
Don’t miss your chance to see a live ASIMO performance on May 15-16 at WIRED Magazine’s NextFest 2004! Future ASIMO touring activities will also be announced this spring, so please be sure to check the Web site often for the latest news on ASIMO’s adventures in North America.
National ASIMO Essay Contest Winning Essay
By Asetta Ramsey/ MS 390
With contributions from Andrea Dove, Luz Villar, Joshua Hernandez, Max Cruz, Hawoly Diop, Jarette Billings, Kimisha Bostick and Ariel McKinley
Why ASIMO Should Visit Our School
ASIMO is a unique robot in the world of robots because he has a humanoid body, which gives him unique abilities.
ASIMO would benefit mankind by doing very dangerous jobs in building and construction that humans are currently doing. Because ASIMO is a humanoid robot, he can always be rebuilt whereas humans could be hurt, and he can continue working when humans can’t. He could speed up the job of construction by lifting heavy objects with his robotic strength. He can be used to work faster and build shelter for those people that don’t have homes.
ASIMO could be used to go down into the deepest volcanoes or to other planets. He could be used for research to go to the bottom of the sea and collect samples.
Robots like ASIMO could go to war so soldiers would not die. They can act as soldiers. We can program them to defend our country. They can pilot planes. They could be our security system because humanoid robots can walk around and climb places that other robots can’t and that might be too dangerous for humans. He can act as a diplomat for the government under dangerous situations.
Humanoid robots could also provide security in other ways. They could be bodyguards. They could protect our schools, or keep drug dealers off the corners and away from stores and schools. They could help enforce the laws with the police. They could be “Robocops.” They could help people out of car accidents. They could remove people when buildings fall down, like when the World Trade Center went down. Humanoid robots could help the Fire Department. They can go into fires and rescue people out of burning buildings.
Other ways ASIMO can help us in today’s life is that ASIMO can help the blind and the elderly. He can do things that old people can’t do for themselves. ASIMO could help the blind cross the street, walk, and travel and he could write for them and read to them. He could help the elderly by feeding them their food and taking care of their house. He could help the elderly by walking up and down steps with them and keeping them company.
He would make a great nurse when it comes to help. He could entertain kids that have diseases like cancer, because some children think they are not important. He could tell them about their health and why it’s important to take their medicine. And just entertain them because everyone loves to be entertained and to laugh.
At MS 390, we’ve just begun to have a class called Robolab, which teaches us how to program robots. We’re probably the only school that teaches programming as a regular class in New York City. We have it two times per week. So ASIMO will benefit our school just by visiting. I think that the kids would really be proud of themselves for writing the essay. MS 390 may even become famous and be in the newspaper.
If ASIMO visited, MS 390 students and the community would learn about humanoid robots. We would be more interested in robots. We’d be inspired. Or it may inspire a few kids who might build humanoid robots when they get older. People would take robots more seriously and want to learn more about them. We could learn how engineers built ASIMO, how ASIMO is programmed, how they give ASIMO commands, the type of things they can do and how accurate they can be. Students would see science in a better and different way. Our school could enjoy new forms of technology. A visit would change the way we see robots. It would impress us with what robots can do. I also think it will give students at MS 390 a better idea of Robolab. We’re one of the only schools in the Bronx with Robolab.
ASIMO would affect the community also. Parents will be more interested in robot programs and going to robot programs. People will be more involved. ASIMO should come to our school because it gives us a chance that other schools won’t have. It would give us great memories of middle school. Kids would say, “Wow! I want to make something like that.” He can also show us what he can do. It would be a great experience. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.