Dole Develops Smart Bananas For Marathon Runners

International cooking schools in the digital age make it possible for food innovations to be shared around the world. Not only has it become easier to crowd-source food-related technology and share culinary ideas, but also it is now possible for food itself to become a wearable device. At least, that’s the new innovation from Dole, as the company recently announced it would debut a smart banana at the 2015 Tokyo Marathon.

The first edible wearable 
To develop the smart fruit, Dole peels a banana and removes it, then places an LED display with GPS and a smaller banana back into the peel before resealing it, according to The Wall Street Journal. While the source notes that mass production is not likely cost effective at this time, Dole’s foray into smart food showcases a potential future trend, especially when fitness is involved. Currently, only two runners in the Tokyo Marathon will be testing the banana, which has a wide range of features, including receiving incoming tweets from friends and fans.

In a statement on Dole Japan’s website, the company explained, “This device can measure the runners’ heart rate, lap time and display the figures onto a real banana. You can even cheer the runner through social media, which will show directly onto the banana peel! And after the race, of course you can eat it too! Finish the race mentally and physically energized!”

The edible wearable connects by wire to another device that the runners will have to carry, and the banana itself is worn around the wrist like a watch. As shown on Dole Japan’s website, information scrolls across the banana from end to end. At the race’s end, the message “Eat Me!” appears on the peel as a runner crosses the finish line.

Developing nutrition-oriented gear has become a trend in the culinary sphere as marathon running continues to be a popular fitness goal for athletes around the world. The influx of smartwatches and other wearables on the market have attracted much attention, and, unlike edible wearables, can be used throughout a runner’s training. Simply put, the ephemeral nature of these devices makes them impractical unless the price point is consumer friendly. With that said, it’s hard to know whether edible wearables such as smart bananas will remain nothing more than a novelty or become a viable race day option in the future.

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