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The smallest competitor at this month’s Ironman Triathlon, in Hawaii, is the Panasonic Evolta robot. The 17-centimeter-long robot, powered by two AA batteries, is expected to complete the 3.8-kilometer swim, 180-km bicycle ride, and 42-km run in about a week. (Humans, on average, complete the endurance test in about 8 hours.) The robot is running inside a modified hamster wheel and pedaling a bike with training wheels.
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Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.