'Walking' marathon set for robots in Japan

Feb. 23, 2011 at 8:29 PM
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OSAKA, Japan, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Japanese researchers say they are set to conduct a 26-mile marathon that will test the endurance of its participants: five walking robots.

The robots have been entered in a race beginning Thursday that will see them attempt to complete 422 laps of a 100-meter indoor track in Osaka, NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.

All the entrants must be able to walk on two legs and will be allowed to stop for repairs and have their batteries changed, although race marshals will count the minutes spent doing so toward their overall race time.

Japanese robotics company Vstone is sponsoring the race, and a live stream of the event will be available on the company's Web site.

Just don't plan on settling in to watch the entire event; organizers say they expect the "marathon" to take four days to complete.

The race is likely to be won not just by the fastest robot but the one whose design can best survive the wear and tear of 26 miles of continuous movement, they say.

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