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Robotics Hardware

The Vending Machines of the Future 216

Posted by samzenpus
from the i-can't-give-you-that-candy-dave dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "Not sure what you're thirsty for? New vending machines in Shinagawa Station in Tokyo will tell you based on your age and gender. The machines, controlled by a centralized server, come equipped with sensors that recognize basic costumer information, and then provide recommendations alongside the list of available drinks. A massive 47-inch touch panel display is used in place of the typical button system, allowing for an automatic digital advertising mode when no people are directly in front of the machine." A Massachusetts-based vending machine company has even come up with a line of biometric snack machines that tie your thumbprint to a credit card.
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The Vending Machines of the Future

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  • Profit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zironic (1112127) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:55PM (#33222622)

    Uhm, how do you make any money off your vending machine if it's a horrendously over-engineered piece of expensive technology?

  • I For One (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:57PM (#33222652) Homepage
    ...would like to know how they knew who my costumer was!
  • Re:Martini (Score:2, Insightful)

    by laktech (998064) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:03PM (#33222706)
    It would also be quite problematic wanting to purchase a beverage for a child and all that becomes available up are Martinis.
  • Re:Profit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Meshach (578918) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:03PM (#33222720)

    Uhm, how do you make any money off your vending machine if it's a horrendously over-engineered piece of expensive technology?

    My guess it will be a combination of higher prices and a hope that the act of matching the customer to a perfect snack will make them come back for more and more.

    Also my bet is that these machines will only be deployed in very high traffic areas inside high profit machines; not at the the gumball machine beside a bus stop in the middle of nowhere.

  • Re:Profit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spazdor (902907) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:06PM (#33222754)

    hope that the act of matching the customer to a perfect snack

    Hope is all they'll manage. Unfortunately human preferences don't work this way, and the only people who will consider the machine's guess to have been "right" are gonna be the people who didn't really have a preference in the first place, and are more swayed by the power of suggestion or confirmation bias.

    Come to think of it, they're selling to the young Japanese public. They'll make a killing.

  • by Animaether (411575) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @08:01PM (#33223302) Journal

    Zero. There's the cultural difference of the japanese people in which they don't even think about stealing or vandalizing it.

    I find the same to be true about parcel delivery in the United States. Although I'm sure delivered goods -do- get stolen off of doorsteps all the time.. it appears to be relatively safe enough that people do have things delivered to their doorstep and just dropped off there left in clear view until they get home.. and most of the time apparently not have them stolen.

    I wouldn't try such a thing in The Netherlands - It's not even an option, for that matter.. they just hold it back at the nearest post office (or sub-office; usually run out of other stores) if they found nobody at the address in 2 attempts to deliver - it would disappear in no time.

    That said.. I don't see much vandalism of such display types here either. There's tons sprinkled throughout the more touristy cities either as commercial displays or information displays. Then there's the hundreds of displays used by real estate agents behind thin slivers of glass, etc.
    A regular ol' bus stop, with no fancy technology at all, however.. those get vandalized with some regularity.

  • Re:Martini (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:08PM (#33223768)
    Whose tongue in whose cheek?
  • Re:Martini (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpeZek (970136) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:25PM (#33223874) Homepage Journal

    Oh please.

    Plenty of things break down to formaldehyde (methanal) as part of digestion. Oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit, and especially alcohol, which creates far more than aspartame does. You get a larger dose from a glass of orange juice or your canned fruit than from a glass of diet coke. The human body is quite capable of metabolizing the small amounts of it found daily.

  • Re:Martini (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpeZek (970136) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:18PM (#33224222) Homepage Journal

    I didn't say that at all. I was just pointing out the scare tactics of the anti-aspartame rhetoric don't stand up to scrutiny.

  • Re:Profit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trapnest (1608791) <janusofzeal@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:46PM (#33224382)
    There are a surprisingly large number of rural areas in Japan.

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