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Robotics Science Technology

Robot To Slowly Run Ironman Triathlon Course 71

Posted by timothy
from the slow-and-steady-kills-the-humans dept.
itwbennett writes "A robot designed by Panasonic will be running the course of this year's Ironman World Championship triathlon next month. But don't expect it to win. The diminutive robot won't even be competing in the actual race. It will start the Ironman course Oct. 24 and finish in about a week (168 hours), according to its designer. 'Evolta's height is just one-tenth of a grown man, so we figured out that it would take it 10 times more time,' Panasonic design engineer Tomotaka Takahashi told Reuters."
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Robot To Slowly Run Ironman Triathlon Course

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  • Actually, count me unimpressed. Googling for mAh numbers shows that Evolta comes in third behind Eneloop and Energizer rechargeables.

    • by Coren22 (1625475)

      Would Eneloop be the best? I would love to know who makes the best ones so I can buy a ton of them for around the house. The Energizer ones I have already seen kick the heck out of the Duracell, Duracell doesn't even make them in the same capacity ranges

  • Triathalon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @05:32PM (#37414506) Journal
    As far as this "robot" is concerned, it is a toy. It needs floats to swim, training wheels on it's bicycle, and it runs in a hamster wheel. Heck, it's not even the same robot running the three legs of the Ironman! This has nothing to do with robotics. It is a publicity stunt for Panasonic's Evolta batteries.

    Regarding the Ironman triathalon. I agree with my brother. They should put the swimming last. It would be a different race if you either finish, or die trying.
    • Re:Triathalon (Score:4, Informative)

      by jfengel (409917) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:53PM (#37415556) Homepage Journal

      As I'm sure you figured out, that's exactly why they put the swimming first. They watch you like a hawk, with literally hundreds of people out in boats and ski-doos. Having the swimming first means that they get it all over with at once, in a couple of hours, rather than having them be out there literally all day.

      Especially for the full-length Ironman, where the finalists don't finish until well after dark. Having to do the swim course in the dark would guarantee deaths.

      • As I'm sure you figured out, that's exactly why they put the swimming first. They watch you like a hawk, with literally hundreds of people out in boats and ski-doos. Having the swimming first means that they get it all over with at once, in a couple of hours, rather than having them be out there literally all day.

        Especially for the full-length Ironman, where the finalists don't finish until well after dark. Having to do the swim course in the dark would guarantee deaths.

        While that's totally true,from a participant view, mass-start swimming *sucks* compared to mass-start running or cycling. I've gotten to race a couple where they did run-swim-bike and it was vastly more civilized: no getting kicked in the head repeatedly while you're in the water.

        • by jfengel (409917)

          That's interesting. I've never run one like that. Especially on a hot day, that could be fun, a nice cool-off between the run and bike legs. Especially compared to an in-the-water start, early in the morning, which can be frigid even in a wetsuit and even when the day is going to be blistering.

  • Not me - I only watch the "Ocho"

  • It's a stupid plastic toy robot.
  • This Evolta robot may not be fast. He may need to switch out bodies at every leg of the race. He may need to switch out batteries "as many times as necessary" during the race (even though the only reason he's in it is to promote how good his batteries are). He isn't a particularly impressive robot/publicity stunt.

    But by golly, he's the only man made of iron* in the ironman race. That's good enough for me.

    *Yes I know, it's actually made from plastic

  • Weird logic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob Kaper (5960) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:04PM (#37414826) Homepage

    They should build a robot 120 times taller than a human. It could run a marathon in a minute, or LA-NY in an hour and a half.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      They should build a robot 120 times taller than a human. It could run a marathon in a minute, or LA-NY in an hour and a half.

      If they made it a few hundred miles high, it could finish the whole race in a few seconds just by leaning forwards and touching the end flag while its feet were on the start line.

      Now THAT' would be awesome.

  • by jockeys (753885) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:30PM (#37414998) Journal
    This is interesting. It's not surprising that the triathlon boards are on fire about this today, mostly with triathletes (on average, very type-A and way too competitive) concerned about the robot breaking a variety of rules:

    1. it doesn't wear a helmet out of T1 and continuing into T2. Result: DQ
    2. it doesn't have a chinstrap to keep buckled. Result: DQ on the bike, time penalty in T1 or T2
    3. it will be receiving outside assistance from people other than sanctioned volunteers or medics. Result: time penalty
    4. if it has any open tubing it is potentially violating the no open bar-end rule. Result: time penalty
    5. if it drafts off anyone on the bike leg, it will be penalized and called out on internet forums as a cheater and a sissy
    6. headphones and personal audio devices are banned, if this thing can play an MP3, it's not allowed on the course
    7. depending on water temperature, it may not be allowed to wear a wetsuit
    8. if it drops batteries or parts on the course it is guilty of equipment abandonment. Result: time penalty
    9. if it doesn't finish in 17 hours, it absolutely doesn't count.
    10. finally, it must have a valid USAT license or risk being banned from the sport.

    Disclaimer: this is a bizarre inside joke for triathletes, don't take it seriously.
    • I'm not familiar with triathlons etc., but surely you could have worked in a steroid or doping reference?
  • Metric (Score:4, Funny)

    by pjt33 (739471) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:30PM (#37415002)

    Thanks for converting the Imperial "a week" into "168 hours" for us metric users. Weeks are, after all, even more obscure units than hogsheads.

  • Running or walking? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjbe (173966) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @06:44PM (#37415072)

    In order to actually be running the robot will have to actually leave the ground between steps. Otherwise it is walking. So is it going to walk the course or run the course?

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:02PM (#37415210)
    Does this mean that small animals one-tenth my size are easy to catch because they run so slowly too?
  • 2 year old stories, slashvertisements for plastic toys, there really isn't anywhere to go but up at this point.

    I might as well get equally as relevant tech news from TMZ.

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:25PM (#37416070) Journal

    In a bizarre twist, despite it's obscenely poor time, the robot was declared the winner of the Ironman triathlon, as it was the only iron man who entered.

  • It would be fun to see robots doing other sports.
    • by pmontra (738736)
      It's easy to watch robot horses racing on TV. Those horses have wheels instead of legs and jockeys are fastened and shielded in a protected saddle because of the speed those robots can reach. The historic tracks are Indianapolis, Monaco and Monza. There are also some unofficial steeplechasing races [youtube.com] even if those robots don't seem very fit for that.
    • Autonomous robots, of course. Otherwise if you allow r/c it just becomes another battlebots fad. How are we going to prevent the problems that have led stock-car racing to become so rule-bound and anything-but-stock?
  • That is what I believe and nothing is going to make me change my mind.

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