As the world’s electronic companies scramble to set the agenda for wearable devices, one Japanese vegetable juice maker went one better today—unveiling a wearable tomato machine.
The “Tomatan” is a backpack that can be loaded with six mid-sized tomatoes, enough, say the makers, to power runners through this weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.
“Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue,” said Shigenori Suzuki of maker Kagome.
The Tomatan looks like a small humanoid robot—with a tomato for a head—and sits snugly on the athlete’s shoulders.
Tugging a tiny lever in the foot moves the arms to catch a tomato from the dispensing shoot. The arms then rotate the fruit over the runner’s head and hold it in front of his mouth.
“We used about 100 tomatoes to complete this machine,” said Novmichi Tosa, of creator Meiwa Denki, a company known for its off-the-wall devices and musical instruments.
“We focused mostly on its visual design.” Despite the eight-kilogramme weight, Kagome’s Suzuki said he will don the device for a five-kilometre fun-run on Saturday.
“I will run by his side carrying my tools, just like an F1 mechanic,” Tosa said.
In Sunday’s full Tokyo Marathon, a runner from Kagome will participate with a lighter wearable tomato machine—the Petit-Tomatan—which weighs only about three kilogrammes, Suzuki said.
The “Petit-Tomatan” has a delivery tube attached to a mini-tomato holster worn on the runner’s back, and even a timer that prevents the user from over-indulging and depleting their supply too quickly.