Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Vending Machines of the Future

Comments Filter:
  • 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?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Meshach (578918)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by spazdor (902907)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Pharmboy (216950)

          It doesn't matter if the machine is always wrong, as long as you can still buy a Diet Coke from it. It doesn't force you to drink one of their suggestions, but the novelty of the machine will attract some people, and if it is sitting next to a "dumb" vending machine, most people will at least try it instead, assuming the prices are the same. And the potential added sales of "Would you like a Nutribar with your Diet Coke?", which can't be too far behind, WILL increase sales.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tiersten (58773)

        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.

        This and because it is also a massive animated billboard when people aren't using it.

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

      Plus if the interest rates on your credit cards are through the roof? I actually enjoy Amazon one-click buy of cheap dvd's, mp3 downloads, etc., but the 17.99% rate just sucks the fun out of it. I suspect I would be equally turned off by a smart guessing machine that also causes me to incur an 18% liability.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      Volume!
    • You make MILLIONS of them.

      In this case, it really helps if you start in Japan. [japan-guide.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dumnezeu (1673634)

      Profit: telling everyone what to eat or drink. People are so fucking lazy that they'll bite this! "Oh, I don't have to decide what to eat/drink? How cool!"

  • by Tiersten (58773) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:55PM (#33222626)

    It is a trick so they can get rid of their stocks of a drink that is almost, but not quite entirely unlike tea.

    • Share and enjoy!

      Lets hope the "Central Server" doesn't do something important in its spare time like run traffic signals or something. It could be quite a disaster is somebody feeds in all this information about the history of the East India Company.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        Lets hope the "Central Server" doesn't do something important in its spare time like run traffic signals or something. It could be quite a disaster is somebody feeds in all this information about the history of the East India Company.

        On one hand, that could make for faster tea delivery.
        On the other hand, it could lead to a great mutiny.
        On the gripping hand, we'd end up drinking Asian dispenser pop with opium.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131)

      Are you implying those machines have GPP?

    • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @08:56PM (#33223676) Homepage
      A bit like the "data plan recommendation" webapp my cell provider has, which asks you a bunch of questions about your usage then recommends their highest price data plan every time.
  • by nfras (313241) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:56PM (#33222642)

    almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      Does that mean I will have "tea and no tea" and finally solve Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

  • 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!
  • A massive 47-inch touch panel display is used in place of the typical button system,

    I wonder how many of these machines are going to get stolen?
    • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:13PM (#33222866)

      A massive 47-inch touch panel display is used in place of the typical button system,

      I wonder how many of these machines are going to get stolen?

      Zero. There's the cultural difference of the japanese people in which they don't even think about stealing or vandalizing it. Then there's the fact they have "police boxes" sprinkled about the place. Also consider the fact that people just don't have any room to put it in their apartments. It also a high probably that it will transform into a robot to defend itself.

      • 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 su

        • by holt (86624)
          I don't ask for stuff to be delivered to my doorstep here in the US, but I can't seem to convince UPS or the post office that such a thing isn't a great idea. Although, I'm usually less worried about it getting stolen then I am about it getting wet, since it inevitably rains whenever a package is due to be delivered.
        • I know I don't worry about it, although USPS doesn't deliver to my home address, so we're talking UPS and FedEx. I live in a small town where in the past 10 years there have been maybe three crimes more severe than "random juvenile vandalism". One of those was somewhat more severe juvenile vandalism (I was the victim in that case, someone slashed the top of my car [Geo Metro convertible]), and the other two were arguments that got out of hand and became assault. Two of those involved no charges being pre

    • They know if you plan to steal them and pre-dial the police.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Forget stealing, I bet someone will hack them to display hentai in public places.

      Bonus points if they keep it touch-enabled.

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:04PM (#33222736)

    how long before kids fake it and buy bear or smokes?

    • by Korin43 (881732) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:07PM (#33222776) Homepage
      They sell bears in vending machines these days? I feel old.
      • by jrumney (197329)

        They sell bears in vending machines these days?

        Only to costumers dressed up as Goldilocks (Harajuku would seem a more appropriate location for such a machine than Shinagawa though).

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Until just a couple years ago they still had [reuters.com] unregulated cigarette vending machines in Japan. Now the cigarette vending machines require something called a "taspo." These cards are free of charge by mail order with proof of ID, and "The smoker's picture will be on the card, although the vending machines will not be able to read the images, so they won't be able to tell if the customer is legitimate." Perhaps somebody from Japan can comment on the difficulty of obtaining a false taspo, but it doesn't soun
    • Here in the states, we only have the right to bear arms, not to entire bears!

      (Yes, according to phonics, "bear" should be pronounced like "dear" or "ear". Which is why I never put much credence in phonic. I think you mean "beer", which IS pronounced like "deer")
      • "Yes, according to phonics, "bear" should be pronounced like "dear" or "ear". Which is why I never put much credence in phonic. I think you mean "beer", which IS pronounced like "deer")"

        I got fed up (Chicago transplant to the west coast as a kid), & started pronouncing bear like Bayer, e.g. "Tomorrow, I will go Bayer hunting". Nobody ever questions my pronunciation.

    • Funny thing is there is a Rum and Cola drink sold in cans in Australia called "Bare". The advertising signs have a polar bear holding the drink.
    • by Moridin42 (219670)

      -years.

      Beer is in vending machines all over japan. Has been for a long time. About 300 yen and off you go with your Sapporo Ichiban or Kirin or Asahi Dry. No ID, no hacking, no elaborate physical or mental contortions.

      Tobacco is more difficult. But I don't know how secure the rfid (I think?) cards are. Probably not very. I'd guess, although I have no proof, that its more a feel-good thing than an actual attempt to quash underage smoking.

  • by Monkey_Genius (669908) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:05PM (#33222746)
    How about Refreshing Crack! [nerdist.com]
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Only if they also provide suicide booths for when you don't have enough money for refreshing crack.

  • Do not want (Score:5, Funny)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:08PM (#33222788)
    I tried telling the machine my age and gender, and it just kept trying to sell me used panties!
    • Wait 'till they start offering you the results of your Google searches.

      On huge screens, in public, on your way to wherever... [youtube.com]

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        You don't understand! Sure, my most frequent google search is for "HD porn", but that's not really what I'm looking for when I'm rushing to catch a train!
        • by denzacar (181829)

          but that's not really what I'm looking for when I'm rushing to catch a train!

          Your mouth says no, but your pupils, your accelerated breathing and your increased heart rate say "OH, YES! YES! YES! GOD! YES! MORE!".

    • Machine trying to sell movies. Machine I am trying to verify your sex. Please remove pants. Machine displays video of two naked women making love. Machine Perhaps you need some help Machine's hand reaches out to massage genitals. Machine okay I now see what your sex is and what stimulates you so here is list of latest movies for sale.
  • ...Welcome back to the GAP. [youtube.com]
    How'd those assorted tank tops work out for you?

  • The machines, controlled by a centralized server, come equipped with sensors that recognize basic costumer information, and then provide recommendations along side the list of available drinks.

    So... it can tell what Anime a cosplayer is into?

  • Not new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:24PM (#33222982) Homepage Journal

    I've seen touchscreen coke machines, where the entire front of the machine is a vertically oriented touchscreen panel, here in the US in malls:
    http://www.newlaunches.com/archives/touch_screen_coke_vending_machine_by_sapient.php [newlaunches.com]

    It doesn't try to guess what you want to drink, which is about as moronic a concept as those biofeedback quarter machines that tell you your love potential based on your heart rate.

  • Back in graduate school I made a proof of concept vending machine whose goal was to be able to vend beer within the local council's licensing laws.

    It was a combination of the early smartcards (8k), biometrics and micropayments.

    The idea is a person would register showing proof of age, have their thumb print scanned, and purchase electronic 'tokens' which were then loaded into the smartcard with the user's print. To buy a beer, the user would insert the card, validate the print - the server would then authori

  • ...is if the vending machine responded "you don't buy crap from vending machines".

  • I hope it isn't on wheels...

  • I was recently at a Kohl's Department Store (similar to Ross, JC Penny, and Sears) and was impressed by the rather large in-store kiosk they had.

    It was very modern looking with a giant 27" touch display, portrait orientation, with a barcode scanner, credit card reader, and even cash taker like an ATM machine.

    For software, it was basically just a custom browser over their in-store catalog, and they did a pretty decent job of making it a good experience.

    In the end though, some glitch kept coming up that would

  • I'd like to be able to get a 7up without being profiled by a machine, thank you very much.
    • by jd2112 (1535857)

      I'd like to be able to get a 7up without being profiled by a machine, thank you very much.

      You look tired, Perhaps a Mtn. Dew would be a better choice of beverage?

  • They need to make one that just has extra rows of mountain dew instead of coke/pepsi.
  • Firstly, I remember a miss-spent youth in which I and my friends would do all sorts of mean things to vending machines. Can you imagine what could be done to a machine with a 42" touchscreen lcd in just a few seconds? Secondly, a thumbprint payment system? Don't they know it's already been proven that thumbprint systems are incredibly easy to hack? (as in a photocopy of your thumb works on them) Just about every company that's attempted something similar has been sued into bankruptcy almost immediately afte
  • from the article, "In one instance, the machine popped up a big set of eyes, along with words that read “I’m thirty!”"

    What the heck does that mean, "I'm thirty". Years old?

    It would make a LOT more sense if the machine said "I'm thirsty" instead.

  • Hmmm ..."I see you're dressed like a vampire. Would you like a bottle of fresh blood?"

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz

Working...