Digital Vending

Digital Vending

Category : Other

Hats off to Acure, the Japanese drinks company which is responsible for many of those vending machines you see offering everything from hot coffee and soup to ice cold sodas on street corners and station platforms round the country.

Their latest machines employ technology that is almost scary – as you approach, a camera detects your face and makes a swift assumption as to your sex and age. Combining this with what it knows to be the time of day and the prevailing weather conditions, it highlights the choice of drink it thinks would suit you best.

I came across one for the first time at Meguro station, mid-afternoon on a day which was unexpectedly a lot warmer than you’d expect for February. I was on my way back to my hotel to drop off armloads of shopping bags, exhausted but still raring to make the most of my one day in Tokyo. The vending machine summed me up and suggested … Red Bull or ion water.

With no hands free to actually pay for or consume either of these undoubtedly excellent options, I had to carry on, but I was still laughing about it ages later. As far as I know, these only exist in Japan at the moment, but I’ll bet this is just the beginning of a global trend.