YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

The wearable veggie-bot Tomatan will demonstrate how to fuel up on lycopene while on the go.

Skeptics of wearable technology, prepare for conversion: The world's first tomato-dispensing backpack is upon us.

Schemed up by the Japanese tomato-product manufacturer Kagome, the 17.6 pound, humanoid veggie-bot Tomatan will make its public debut this weekend. It'll ride upon the sturdy, lycopene-loving shoulders of company employee Shigenori Suzuki as he runs the Toyko Marathon.

Suzuki will be running both Saturday's 5K "fun run" and Sunday's full marathon.* He'll eat seven medium-sized tomatoes delivered to his lips by Tomatan's robotic arms as he completes the first run. He'll then chow down 12 cherry tomatoes courtesy of Petit Tomatan, a smaller, more compact contraption, during his longer haul.

Sure, tomatoes are full of heart-healthy phytochemicals like beta-carotene and folic acid. But eating all of those in a row sounds positively vomit-inducing, even without the whole 10K part. Of course, there are no plans as of yet to commercialize the Tomatan; it's a PR stunt from Kagome, one of the marathon's sponsors, which plans to distribute 50,000 boring, regular tomatoes to other runners on Sunday.

While a tomato-feeding device might not be so practical for runners, a tomato-throwing wearable is something I've actually long dreamed of owning as a pedestrian. The next time a texting driver nearly mows me down in a crosswalk, they just might receive my Tomatan-inspired wrath all over their windshield.

*A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Suzuki will be running in the 10km race on Sunday. He will in fact be running the full marathon.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  2. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  3. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  4. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

  5. Environment

    Housing Discrimination Made Summers Even Hotter

    The practice of redlining in the 1930s helps explain why poorer U.S. neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

×