Japan is known worldwide for its innovative, if not sometimes bizarre, ventures into new technology. It’s also known for having vending machines on almost every block in most urban areas, carrying everything from bottled drinks to women’s underwear (though the latter is certainly not as common, mind you).
Today’s fun link is an article from Akihabara News on the newest technology developed for the bottled drink consumer: a high-tech vending machine featuring an interactive touch screen (47 inches) and smart technology to improve marketing strategy at the same time as it sells you your goods. According to the article:
What makes this vending machine even more interesting is that there is a camera above the screen that determines the age and gender of a person standing in front of it, which the machine uses to “subtly” offer demographically-targeted drink selections, as well as collect marketing data based on customer’s actual choices – no identifiable images or information are stored. That point-of-sale marketing data is pushed to a central management server via WiMAX.
The vending machine displays only those items which are not sold out, and can be paid for using hard cash, touch-free train cards like Suica, and cell phones. Honestly, the more advanced interactive technology like this becomes, the more I think about how the tech in Minority Report is going to look incredibly realistic in another fifteen years. Heck, it’s not even looking that far off now.
To see the vending machine in action, check out the embedded video in the Akiba article here. See the NHK news report on these vending machines below.