In what may be a preview of the future of athletics, Hubo, a humanoid robot, carried the Olympic torch in Daejeon, South Korea as part of the relay leading up to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Hubo, who was built by a team at the KAIST public research university and took out the DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2015, had to perform a disaster rescue operation to hand off the torch to the next runner.

Monday's robotic run was conducted on the KAIST campus as part of a three-day leg of the torch relay in Daejon. Hubo received the flame from Dr. Dennis Hong, a professor from the University of California, Los Angeles, who arrived in an autonomous vehicle

Once it had the torch, Hubo walked 150 m (492 ft) to a "brick" wall that it had to cut through before it could give the flame to its developer, Professor Oh Jun-ho. Professor Oh, in turn, gave the flame to Jung Jae Lee, a winning team member of the Samsung Junior Software Cup, who rode in a special robotic chair with legs for propulsion called FX-2. Both only took a few steps.

"Today's special Olympic Torch Relay celebrating [information and communications technology (ICT)] was a fantastic display of innovation and creativity," said PyeongChang Organizing Committee (POCOG) President LEE Hee-beom. "ICT is a very important part of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games as we aim to be the most connected and technologically advanced Games ever. Today was a chance for us to show the world some exciting technologies that will be showcased during the Games."

The Winter Olympics begin in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 9, 2018 and run for two weeks.


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