Skip to main content

World's First Two-Legged Robot-Only Marathon Set for Feb. 24 (updated with video)

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/science/news/110216/scn11021612430002-n1.htm

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."

Comments

Scott Brown said…
It's bad enough that Robots are taking our jobs, now they want our hobbies!

Still, if there is anything mindless androids would be good at it's the marathon ;)

On the bright side, they will make us feel a little better about our stride and running form!
Brett Larner said…
I'd have to go with 100 km.
Z said…
This is only possible in Japan, the marathon-craziest nation in the world!

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…

List of Japanese Athletes Qualified for 2017 London World Championships

It's 50 days to go to the 2017 London World Championships and just over a week out from the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka where the country's best will be trying to earn places on the London team. Athletes will have the chance to chase standards in the weeks after Nationals, but excluding the marathon, walks and combined events, all of which are held separately from the National Championships, the following is a list of Japanese athletes already holding valid qualifying marks for London.

Things are looking very thin right now, with only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m currently capable of fielding complete contingents, although at least the men's 200 m, men's pole vault and conceivably the men's 10000 m could join that short list. With sixteen women currently holding the London standard the women's 10000 m looks to be the toughest to make even if marathon squad members Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu…