This might be the weirdest robot we’ve seen yet. Tomatan is a tomato-tossing robot for marathon runners. A marathon is 26 miles long, and it’s really hard to run that far. When the runner squeezes one of Tomatan’s feet, Tomatan grabs a tomato out of its own backpack, swings it overhead and holds it to the runner’s mouth. The runner can just keep running while munching! You probably never thought you could have a backpack robot — but you also probably never thought you’d want to eat tomatoes while running. Now you can do both.
Wee ones: What shape is a tomato?
Little kids: If Tomatan could feed you 2 tomatoes and then 5 bananas, how many pieces of food would he hand you? Bonus: If you want to eat 10 things in total, how many more pieces of food should Tomatan feed you?
Big kids: If you run 26 miles and eat a tomato every 3 miles, can you eat all 10 tomatoes before you finish the race? Bonus: If you eat 2 tomatoes during each and every mile, how many do you chug down in total?
Wee ones: It looks like a circle from the side, and it’s also a sphere (a ball)…or if you want to get fancy, a spheroid (a squashed sphere, since most tomatoes aren’t perfect).
Little kids: 7 pieces. Bonus: 3 more pieces.
Big kids: No: even if you eat one at the start (0 miles), you’ll have had 2 tomatoes after 3 miles, 3 after 6 miles, and so on, giving you only 9 by 24 miles. Bonus: 52 tomatoes.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.