Noted Cirque du Soleil Technical Director and Hollywood Film and TV Producer Join FIRST Robotics Competition Game Design Committee

2010 Robotics Game Includes Entertainment Value for All Audiences

MANCHESTER, N.H. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — October 7, 2009FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, announced that the internationally-recognized technical director for Cirque du Soleil, Calum Pearson, and Hollywood film and TV producer, Paul Lazarus, have joined the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Game Design Committee to ensure that the game challenges are appealing to all ages and audiences, while at the same time pushing the limits of the students’ ability to innovate new robotic designs and applications.

The FRC Game Design Committee is responsible for creating the design, the rules, and the annual game challenge and theme, which requires piloting robots in both autonomous and tele-operated modes, while 2 three-team robot alliances collect and score points for a variety of engineering tasks – from lifting and rolling objects to collecting and moving items – on various surfaces. In 2009, team robots where required to play on a slippery surface with trailers attached to gather ‘moon rocks’ in a game called LUNACY™.

FIRST is pleased and excited that our newest additions to the FRC Game Design Committee will assist us in making sure that the game is not only challenging and full of surprises for all the robotics teams; but also one that is exciting for spectators to watch while they cheer on their favorite school teams,” said Bill Miller, Director of the FIRST Robotics Competition program. “Calum and Paul bring both the combined expertise of very technical and very creative aspects in spectator entertainment. Their involvement brings a vast understanding of 21st century entertainment value and taps into new visual and sound technologies for a multi-generational, multi-national experience. They are welcome additions to Game Design as we work to develop the most spectacular robotics competition in the world.”

Calum Pearson is the Senior Director of Technical and Show Support, Resident Shows Division for Cirque du Soleil. He has served as Company Manager for Cirque’s KÀ and was responsible for managing the day to day operations of Cirque du Soleil’s fourth permanent show in Las Vegas with more than 300 cast and crew members from 18 countries and a production cost of $200 million. He also has 17 years of operations and management experience in the entertainment industry, including many years spent touring with well-known music productions including Bon Jovi and Van Halen, and family acts such as Disney on Ice.

Paul Lazarus is a director, producer, and writer of television, film, and theater projects who has worked with FIRST for many years on the production of the Chairman’s Award winner videos. He directed and produced the feature film, “Seven Girlfriends,” starring Tim Daly, Mimi Rogers, Jami Gertz, and Melora Hardin. He also independently produced “Seven Girlfriends,” which was released by Castle Hill Productions and was featured on HBO and Comedy Central. For Dreamworks SKG, he voice directed the animated musical feature, “Joseph,” starring Ben Affleck.

The new Game Design Committee members for the FIRST Robotics Competition join current members: Bill Miller, Game Design Committee Chair and Director of the FIRST Robotics Competition; Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research; Dr. Woodie Flowers, Chair of the FIRST Executive Advisory Board and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Aidan Browne, Lead System Engineer for the Joint Biological Point Detection System produced by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products; Dave Lavery, NASA Program Executive for Solar System Exploration; Kate Pilotte, FIRST (FRC) Kit of Parts Engineer; Jeremy Roberts, Software Engineer at Qcept Technologies; and Dr. (Captain) Vince Wilczynski, Chief of the Mechanical Engineering Section at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to 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 not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO® League for children 9-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO® League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to


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