Panasonic’s EVOLTA robot, the mascot for their line of rechargeable batteries, will compete in a triathlon in Hawaii next month. Three different robots have been prepared for each leg of the grueling 230km (142 miles) event, which Panasonic hopes they can finish in one week. First up will be the daunting 3.8km (2.36 miles) swim, followed by an endurance-testing 180km (111.8 miles) bike ride, ending with the completion of a marathon (42.195km [26.2 mile] run). Although the actual Iron Man Triathlon has a time limit of 17 hours, Panasonic says that the robot is 1/10th the size of a person and therefore should get 170 hours to complete the course.
As usual, the robots are powered by EVOLTA batteries and were designed by Tomotaka Takahashi of ROBO-GARAGE, known for creating cute miniature robots (see ROPID), among others. The robots will be guided by Panasonic’s team using an infrared signal and will be allowed to take breaks to recharge if necessary, though they expect the robot to run almost non-stop. While the swimming robot is entirely new, the other two are modified versions of previous EVOLTA robots (see EVOLTA Car and EVOLTA Traveler). Those robots have already proven themselves capable on solid ground, so Takahashi-san points out that the swimming task will be the most challenging. The strange shape of the swimming robot is to provide buoyancy in the water – the actual propulsion comes from the robot’s paddling arms.
This will be the robot’s fourth “World Challenge”; it has already climbed a rope to the top of the Grand Canyon (2008), zipped around the Le Mans race track for 24 hours straight (2009), and tackled the daunting 53 Stations of Tokaido (2010). These PR events have been designed to showcase the EVOLTA battery line; the newest generation can be charged 1,800 times without any loss in performance. You’ll even be able to purchase a battery charger in the shape of the EVOLTA robot! Awesome! More photos of the robots follow after the break.
Impress | Panasonic