Dorgan discusses FIRST for Plains
Dean Kamen and Sen. Byron Dorgan want to give the Northern Plains a FIRST. That's FIRST as in Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Dean Kamen and Sen. Byron Dorgan want to give the Northern Plains a FIRST.
That's FIRST as in Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. It was founded by Kamen in 1989.
The president and CEO of Segway, LLC, and the North Dakota senator said Tuesday that they will organize a FIRST Robotics Competition for the region's high schools.
Dorgan, D-N.D., said area students should be able to compete by the 2003-04 school year.
"I will work with him to make that happen," Dorgan said.
Kamen said the program is about changing the United States from a culture of worshiping sports stars to a culture that sees its scientists and engineers as stars.
"We have a culture that's great at creating demand for all the wrong things," he told businessmen in a conference keynote speech. "Sports ... aren't what life's all about."
The nation must create the same passion for science and technology as it does for pro basketball, Kamen said. While companies get an A-plus for keeping the nation on the technological edge, they get a D "for not being responsible to our kids," he said.
"There's got to be the equivalent of Michael Jordan in your companies. Kids need to see your Michael Jordans," Kamen said, cajoling them to get involved. "If you want to do this, it will happen."
The agreement came from a conversation after Monday's session of the Upper Great Plains Technology Conference and Trade Show in Fargo, the pair said.
The competition challenges students to use their science and engineering skills to create robots to perform tasks and negotiate obstacles.
Student teams are sponsored by businesses, colleges, universities and trade schools, which provide mentor scientists and engineers and funding, estimated at $10,000 per team through the regional competition.
Kamen is the inventor of the Segway Human Transporter, an electric two-wheeled, self-balanced people mover. He has also created several medical devices, including the heart stent and the portable insulin pump. He holds more than 150 U.S. and foreign patents.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583