Battery-powered robot to take on Hawaii triathlon course

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Not content with scaling the Grand Canyon and putting in 24 hours behind the wheel on the Le Mans racetrack, Evolta is now planning to take on one of the toughest feats of endurance yet devised.

The little Japanese robot has entered into the strength-sapping Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.

Developed by Japanese electronics firm Panasonic, the pint-sized automaton will swim, cycle and then run the tough course over seven days from October 24. The robot will at least have the course to itself as the human competitors will be competing in early October.

"This is very tough, even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth taking the challenge," said Tomotaka Takahashi, creator of the white-and-green automaton. "The robot will encounter a lot of hardships along the way, but I hope it will overcome them all and succeed."

The robot will have a punishing course of 230 km to complete and, given that it is just one-tenth the height of a human competitor, the creators have set a time limit of 10 times the usual duration required to complete a triathlon.

Japanese technology firms have a long and distinguished history in the field of robotics, with Honda's humanoid creation able to climb stairs while Tmsuk has developed a whole range of robots in the form of dinosaurs and animals that are employed as roaming security guards in factories, offices and homes.

The challenge facing the humanoid Evolta is a daunting one, but he has a record of coming through. As well as climbing a 1,500-foot rope to the top of the Grand Canyon, he has completed a 500-km walk from Tokyo to the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto.

The robot will use a specially created bicycle - complete with stabilizers - to complete that stretch of the course, while the swimming robot will be mounted on a curved, fin-like blade with its arms stretched out.