Now Vending: The Future

by Apr 1, 20040 comments

I can’t remember when, but I’m sure I’ve sung the praises of Japanese vending machines before. Both their sheer volume (like every 10 feet it seems) and the remarkable range of products you can find in them (drinks, beer, cigarettes, cigarette lighters, porn, batteries, camera film, porn, et al) are a godsend on this fine country and it’s humble in habitants. And just when I think they can’t get any cooler, they go and do just that.

IFI saw this soda machine the other day and was in awe at what a good idea it is. As you can see, all buttons and product images had been replaced with a LCD touchscreen. Brilliant! Normally vending machines have little plastic mockups of each product that’s in the machine and these are swapped out as the product line rotates over time. Multiply that by a vending machine every 10 feet (okay, it looks like I’ve arbitrarily decided that’s the official distribution rate without any actual data to back it up. Let’s just move on) over the entire country and that’s a LOT of plastic and paper waste any time a company decides to kill an old product or introduce a new one.

IFNow with everything done on a LCD screen, all you have to do is plug in your little terminal computer while restocking the machine and upload a new picture. No fuss, no muss, no waste. Not to mention that when the machine is idle, the screen can display advertising which can be sold to whomever (a quick touch of the screen would of course bring up the menu again right away). Imagine that little goldmine; the machines thus creating revenue for their owners both while in use and while idle.

Once again, I’m am brought to my knees in awestruck admiration of the Land of the Rising Sun Bombastalicious Vending Machine.

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