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: Mayor Luigi Brugnaro walks on St Mark's Square as exceptionally high tidal flooding engulfed the city.
    Environment

    Venice Faces ‘Apocalyptic’ Flooding

    Seasonal acqua alta reached the highest level since 1966, leaving two dead and devastating damage. The city’s ambitious flood barrier isn’t ready yet.

  2. photo: A metro train at Paris' Gare Du Nord.
    Transportation

    Can the Paris Metro Make Room for More Riders?

    The good news: Transit ridership is booming in the French capital. But severe crowding now has authorities searching for short-term solutions.

  3. A view of a Harlem corner.
    Equity

    How Ronald Reagan Halted the Early Anti-Gentrification Movement

    An excerpt from Newcomers, a new book by Matthew L. Schuerman, documents the early history of the anti-gentrification and back-to-the-city movements.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

×