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Robotics Hardware

The Vending Machines of the Future 216

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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  • Re:Profit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tiersten ( 58773 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:09PM (#33222814)

    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.

  • 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.

  • Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:17PM (#33222912) Homepage
    So it's not enough that billions of people have been conned into believing that drinking sugar water with artificial colors and flavors, at upwards of 140 calories per serving, is a perfectly legitimate practice. Now the public will happily rely on some moronic piece of code running on a vending machine's microcontroller to tell them what preposterous diabetes-inducing heart-disease-promoting obesity-cultivating beverage is best for a given moment. It's a safe bet that it will simply select an entry at random from the list of beverages currently in stock.

    In case you were wondering, yes, I assert that the drinking of sugary soft drinks is not a legitimate practice that anyone should condone in their won lives or in those of their friends and loved ones. When is it OK to drink them? Easy to remember answer: Never. They are worthless inducers of disease that generally don't even quench your thirst particularly well. Do I favor making them illegal or otherwise prohibiting them? No. I favor freedom and liberty, but with those comes great personal responsibility. I do favor ending every single agricultural or industrial subsidy or tax break that directly or indirectly makes it easier or more profitable to produce and sell them. If you are stupid enough to drink them, you most certainly should be paying full price.
  • Re:Profit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:18PM (#33222916) Journal

    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:Profit? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @08:06PM (#33223338)
    1. There are millions of people who pass Shinagawa Station daily and a sizable fraction of that number transfer, board or deboard there. With that kind of volume, even a vending machine selling dog feces would still sell a few units per day.
    2. Japan isn't entirely populated by laser-wielding robot overlords, but there is a considerable market for new technologies, even if they're not particularly useful. (Cf. Asimo)

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