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Nov. 2, 2004



ASIMO visits SMU Nov. 12-13
(click image for high-resolution version)

DALLAS (SMU) -- ASIMO, the world's most advanced humanoid robot developed by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., is coming to Texas for the first time to be a part of the 2004 Texas BEST Robotics Championship at SMU's Moody Coliseum Nov. 12-13.

Thousands of pre-college students and their remote-controlled robots will converge on campus when the SMU School of Engineering hosts this popular robotics competition. This year's assignment for competing teams will focus on the use of gene therapy to repair DNA. In past years, BEST competitors have built robots for scenarios of toxic waste disposal, space travel and blood cell repair. Organizers say the excitement of the crowd and the fever of competition make for an atmosphere more like a college athletic event than an academic meet.

"We're proud to be the new host for a program that does so much to excite young people about the possibility of pursuing careers in engineering and science," said Geoffrey Orsak, Dean of SMU's School of Engineering. "Manufacturers have relied for years on industrial robots. Over the next decade, however, personal robots like ASIMO will become more commonplace, performing a variety of helpful activities for individual users."

Robotic advances spurred by the development of ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, could one day give the disabled or elderly the mobility they lack, answering doors and retrieving medicine, for example. ASIMO was designed by Honda engineers and is treated like a superstar everywhere it goes, with its own customized trailer, entourage and soundstage. At SMU, ASIMO will be demonstrated for university dignitaries, political leaders, students and the general public.

ASIMO will give 11 performances, four of which are open to the public, on SMU's campus. During a live 30-minute high-tech stage show, ASIMO will demonstrate its remarkable human-like mobility: walking, climbing stairs, turning smoothly, balancing on one leg and even dancing. Demonstrations will be followed by a Q&A session conducted by Honda robotics experts. To learn more about ASIMO and Honda's humanoid robotics program, please visit A schedule of performance times is available at Seating is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

BEST, which stands for Boosting Science and Technology, depends on hundreds of volunteers most of whom are engineers or other technical professionals. These mentors work with middle and high school students for six weeks before the championship to build and compete the remote-controlled robots in local competitions. BEST provides each school with a kit of equipment and parts and a set of game rules.

The program began in North Texas in 1993 and has grown to more than 700 schools with 8,000 students competing each fall at 26 hub sites throughout the United States. Sixty top-placing teams from Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas will go on to compete at SMU for the Texas BEST Regional Championship.

Sponsors of this year's event include the SMU School of Engineering, Texas Instruments, The Boeing Company, Raytheon, and The Infinity Project. To learn more about Texas BEST, go to the Web site at

Note to Editor: More photographs of ASIMO may be found at


Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas with more than 10,000 students and offering degree programs through six schools. More information about SMU is available at