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They Did What?: 

This robot wants to feed you tomatoes while you run


That’s a tomato, not a knife. And he’s planning on popping it gracefully into the mouth, not plunging it into the back of the skull.

Have you ever been out running, and wondered why science hasn’t invented a running buddy that will pop fresh sun-ripened tomatoes into your mouth? No, of course you haven’t. Neither have we. Neither, in fact, has anyone in the entire history of the world.

Except, it appears, for Japanese vegetable juice company Kagome, who have created the terrifying abomination of science you can see in the photo above and the video below. Say hello to Tomatan.

The beast, which reminds us ever so slightly of Yoda sitting on Luke Skywalker’s back in The Empire Strikes Back, will sit atop a runner’s back, and feed them up to six tomatoes using its mechanical arms. When you feel like a tomato (when have you ever felt like a tomato while running?) you simply pull a lever on the robot’s leg, and Tomatan takes care of the rest, like a┬ápersonal butler with a very limited culinary range.

As far as we can tell, its weird opening-and-closing mouth is purely decorative, and offers no benefits, other than drawing attention to the runner. Because, y’know, people running with bright red mechanical robots strapped to their backs are 10 a penny round our way.

The whole thing weighs a whopping eight kilograms, which you might argue would limit whatever benefits you’d gain from the added nutrients. Correct – that’s why the company has also created Petit Tomatan, weighing in at a svelte 3kg. This one has a smaller tomato holster worn on the back, and requires the runner to hold the tube up to their mouths, leaving us wondering what the benefit is.

Still, the idea is clearly not without its merit. The first thing we’d do if we got one? Modifying the tube on the back to feed us M&Ms. Can you imagine the look of disappointment in his weird tomato-y face, as we slumped into a sugar crash around the second mile?

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