Vending machines are a technology that Japanese people have adopted like no other. We've seen vending machines that sell panties, crazy anime and novelty items as well as the traditional convenience store quality food and beverages that everyone in the U.S. has become accustomed to. We've also seen people from Japan dressed up as vending machines so it comes as no surprise that the next generation vending machine concept could be exporting from none other than Japan.
The trifecta of companies working to usher in a new era of the unparalleled vending machine experiences is Intel, Okaya Electronics and Sanden who is a big vending machine manufacturer in Japan. All things considered there is a lot of technology built into the next generation vending machine concept. For example, I haven't run into a vending machine here in the U.S. that has a 65" transparent, 1080p, touch-screen display... in fact I haven't ever run into a TV or monitor that matches that criteria. The screen allows the customer to see products behind the user interface they will need to interact with. It will also be able to help identify your preferences based on anonymous recognition of your gender but it won't know anything about the individual. If there is no customer present, the machine can sense this and displays advertisements or a digital clock until approached. A representative for the concept vending machine put it this way,
This vending machine uses the Intel SandyBridge Core. It features Audience Impression Metric, or AIM, and can do anonymous face recognition. So this machine can recognize whether customers are male or female, or old or young.
The real question is will this concept change the way we experience vending machines? Find out more after the break.
Even here in the U.S. the concept of selling luxury items through these computerized vendors isn't a new idea. Probably the most notable in recent history are the Best Buy Express vending machines that have seemed to pop up in every mall and airport ever but the thinking with these machines is that people would be willing to purchase other luxury items as well, making them more versatile in that respect as well as the ways you have to interact with them.
It's great to see innovation in all forms of technology and I think all this will bring us one step closer to what we really need a vending machine to be... sentient. This way when the item we purchased inevitably gets caught on something, the forthcoming shaking and kicking may prompt it to not be so clingy, or at the very least refund our money. If for no other reason than to make the pain stop.