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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Robot To Complete Triathalon

This story was making the news today... (Friday):

A wee, itty bitty Japanese robot built Takahashi Tomotaka (surname first) of electronics giant Panasonic is going to tackle Hawaii's Ironman Triathalon. And it's only 6.7 inches (~17 centimeters) tall, proving once and for all that size isn't everything.

It shouldn't be too difficult for the robot named Evolta-san (Mister Evolta), as it has previously: 
  • climbed the sheer walls of the Grand Canyon in the U.S. back on May 24, 2008 climbing up over 1,700 feet of rope in less than seven hours. You can watch a video of that HERE
  • driven around the LeMans racetrack for the equivalent 24 hours. Video HERE;
  • and walked from Tokyo to Kyoto in Japan - a distance of 500 kilometers. Video HERE.
Wearing three different bodies and three rechargeable batteries, Evolta will swim 2.4-mile (3.86 km), bicycle 112 miles (180.25 km) and then run 26.2 miles (49.195 km), which is a full marathon. 

Just don't except the little guy to actually compete against humans and beat them.

"This is very tough even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth a challenge," explains Takahashi. "The robot will encounter a lot of hardships on its way, but I hope it will overcome them all and succeed in the end."

Evolta-san will have to swim, run and bike for a total of approximately 140.6 miles (230 km). The time given to complete the task is one whole week or 168 hours, which is ten times longer than it would take an average  sportsman.

"Evolta's height is just one-tenth of a grown man, so we figured out that it would take it 10 times more time," explains Takahashi.

As mentioned, Evolta -san has three bodies. 
  • One is mounted upon a small bicycle with Evolta-san in a round hoop with a supporting rear wheel. 
  • A second body--for swimming--is mounted on a curved, fin-like blade with its arms stretched out.
  • The third is the basic humanoid shape for running.

The swimming body was a tricky one for Evolta-san's creator. 

"I had to think of the ways to make it (Evolta) water-proof and protect it from mold as much as possible," recalls Takahashi.

Takahashi Tomotaka and his Evolta-san robot.
Considered a fool-proof marketing ploy by Panasonic, the same type of batteries worn by Evolta will go on sale in Japan on October 21, 2011--able to be recharged a remarkable 1,800 times in its recharger pad. 

These Evolta batteries last longer than any of Panasonic’s Alkaline predecessors and in most cases Oxyride
too. This neat battery has caught the attention of the Guinness World Records (formerly known as the Guinness Book of World Records until 2000) , which has officially recognized Evolta as the "Longest Lasting AA Alkaline Battery in a wide range of devices." Guinness apparently determined Evolta-san's achievement based on third-party verified data obtained from discharge testing Panasonic conducted in accordance with the guidelines set by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

I'm just going to say that Guinness World Records has a lot of stupid records in its archives - a way more so than when I first bought a copy back in 1974. I was always more interested in human sizes - mostly because the only robots I knew then as a 10-year-old were more interested in destroying humans - except for Astro Boy, Robbie the Robot and B-9, that robot from the Lost In Space television show.

Evolta-san's triathlon challenge will take place in Hawaii on October 24, 2011 and will continue non-stop for seven days and nights. 

The actual Ironman World Championship takes place on October 8, 2011 in Kona, Hawaii. More information can be found at