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'12 Days of Robotics' may Become Annual Event

Emmaus High School Junior Chrissy Cilento talks to "12 Days of Robotics" founder and successful inaugural events and plans for the future.

Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Junior

Many patients are used to a here’s-your-bill-see-you-next-time approach to medicine, not ever really interacting with their doctors. The challenged that approach last month with its "12 Days of Robotics" program.

The objective of the program was to get the community and its patients involved in the robotic surgery program by interacting with the actual robots used in surgery and the surgeons who make the magic happen. With events ranging from sushi eating to domino stacking, the hospital really succeeded in personalizing its medicine. 

Among the many business participants in the "12 Days of Robotics" program, at the Promenade Shops sponsored LVHN’s Sushi Surgeons program where two robotic surgeons, Dr. Martin Martino and Dr. Patrick McIntyre, led teams to develop the perfect sushi rolls.

Dr. Martino and his team dubbed their roll the “Vetruvia,” named after Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man, and rumored to be the perfectly proportional roll of sushi. Dr. McIntyre’s team kicked up the heat with its Exotic Robotic Samuri sushi, but unfortunately in the end "Vetruvia" was just too good to beat. 

Kome donated 20 percent of sales from that night to LVHN’s Gynecologic Cancers, Research and Robotics Fund, for a grand total of a $2,500 donation. 

The robotics fun didn’t end there though. In the final round of the first annual Simulation Olympics, finalists competed to win a new iPad. The contestants used a robotic surgery trainer to virtually stack objects into the tallest tower possible. They sat at the trainer, put their fingers into two grabbers, and looked into the machine, where they were given 3D vision of the virtual world inside.

They saw stackable objects and two robotic arms that were controlled by their grabbers. When they moved their grabbers, the virtual arms moved to pick up the objects and stack them. In essence, it sounds like a simple concept, but it’s much harder than it looks. With only 120 seconds to stack and plenty of opportunities to knock over the towers, the competitors were sweating by the end of the competition. 

After the competitors were finished stacking, the prizes were distributed to the victors. A new iPad, an iPod Touch, and a $100 gift card to Kome were generously donated by the robotic surgeons at the Lehigh Valley Health Network for the senior Olympics, while the Junior Olympics winners received gift cards to Red Robin, Rave, and Maggie Moo’s .

You didn’t need to be a winner to have fun, though. Everyone present left with a knew-found knowledge of robotics and just how adroit the robotic surgeons at Lehigh Valley Hospital are.

Emmaus resident Sawyer Long says: “I thought it was very interesting and different, and I enjoyed the fact that I got to see behind the scenes with how these machines work.” 

Dr. Martino, the coordinator for the event, is very grateful for all who contributed to make "12 Days of Robotics" and the Simulation Olympics a success. He hopes that through events like these, more students will be interested in the health care field as well as the many exciting educational opportunities available at the Lehigh Valley Health Network. LVHN plans to make this an annual spring event, he says.

Chrissy Cilento, a junior at , plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.

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