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Tomatan: The robot that will feed you tomatoes as you run

Japan has always been known as a land of strange things, but this tomato serving robot just takes the cake.

A Japanese vegetable juice company created a robot which sits on a person’s back and feeds them tomatoes when the person asks for it.

The robot, called Tomatan, is designed to be worn as a backpack and weighs 18 pounds.

It has a tomato-shaped head (obviously), a forward-bent body and a pair of legs, so when you put him on your back it looks like a small metallic child is sitting on your shoulders.

The robot has a stash that fits six tomatoes, and a pair of robotic hands. Once the wearer presses a button located on the sole of the robot’s right foot, it dispenses a tomato, and the person gets it served right on his mouth.

IBTimes has asked the same question I ask, and probably everyone else asks, as well: why would anyone need this?

Apparently, this is the best possible thing for marathon runners, says Kagome, which claims to be Japan's largest supplier of tomato juice and tomato ketchup.

"Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue," Kagome employee Shigenori Suzuki told Deccan Chronicle, IB Times reports (opens in new tab).

"We used about 100 tomatoes to complete this machine," said Novmichi Tosa, one of the founders of the artistic studio Meiwa Denki. "We focused mostly on its visual design."

The founders want the robot to be used on the marathon, but with 18 pounds it will be quite hard, which is why there is also a light-weight version called Petit-Tomatan, weighing only 6.6 pounds.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.