Technology: Japanese Robot to Run Ironman Course



A tiny Japanese robot is out to prove what it can do by tackling the notoriously grueling Ironman Triathlon course in Hawaii.

Top Gears

The robot has already climbed up the incredibly steep cliffs of the Grand Canyon, and also drove the Le Mans racetrack for 24 hours straight. Armed with 3 different bodies and just as many rechargeable batteries, Japanese electronics corporation Panasonic thinks that the tiny hand-sized Evolta is ready for one of the world’s toughest challenges.

Tomotaka Takahashi, creator of the tiny, toy-like robot, commented on his robot’s chances in the triathlon: “This is very tough even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth a challenge,” said Tomotaka Takahashi, who created the green-and-white toy-like robot.”

Showing the care of a creator, he continued: “The robot will encounter a lot of hardships on its way, but I hope it will overcome them all and succeed in the end.”

A Real Ironman

The Ironman Triathlon course involves swimming, running, and biking for about 230 kilometers in total. The robot will have to do all of this, though it is given a full week to complete the course, or 10 times longer than it would normally take a human competitor. This is because, as Takahashi reasons, Evolta is just one-tenth the height of a grown man, so 10 times as long is a sensible time limit.

The three bodies include one mounted on a tiny bicycle, and a “swimming bot” that looks like it is mounted on a fin. The swimming part of the triathlon was especially challenging for creator Takahashi, he says, as he had to make it water- and mold-proof.

Evolta has already walked the 500km from Tokyo to the old capital Kyoto, but will be faced with seven non-stop days and nights starting 24 October. The official Ironman World Championship takes place in early October, however.


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