translated by Brett Larner
Click photo for a slideshow of the robot marathoners in action.
The world's first full marathon exclusively for two-legged robots is scheduled to begin Feb. 24 in Osaka. Aiming both to raise the science behind bipedal robotics to the point that one is capable of completing 42.195 km and to help generate popular support for October's first running of the Osaka Marathon, the Osaka Metropolitan Government-sponsored race unveiled its upcoming participants at a special event at Osaka's Asia Pacific Trade Center on Feb. 16. Five teams from local companies and universities have submitted robots to the competition.
The Robot Marathon will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 24. Robots must cover 422 laps of a 100 m loop course inside the Trade Center within a time limit of four days and, apart from time off for battery changes and on-the-fly maintenance, will run nonstop. In a special demonstration at the unveiling event on Feb. 16 a lead camera showed the robots in action, some running lightly and easily and others laboring with heavy, unsteady legs. A representative of the Metropolitan Government commented, "We hope this helps to stimulate interest in Osaka-based manufacturing."