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'Smart' Vending Machines Triple Sales

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the by-tom-cruise's-eyeballs dept.

Privacy 234

bossanovalithium writes "A vending machine in Japan which recommends drinks to customers based on facial recognition data has tripled sales. JR East Water Business has previously installed two vending machines in JR Shinagawa station and it is believed that the recognition technology is responsible for a vast increase in sales in comparison to traditional machines. The vending machines recommend beverages after physical attributes of customers are picked up by sensors which allow the machines determine age, sex and other attributes, before offering a number of suggestions."

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Tea? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235076)

Regardless of your age, sex, or other characteristics, the machines always produce a beverage almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Re:Tea? (3, Funny)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235162)

However, if you stick a photo of Margareth Thatcher to your face, it will produce a beverage entirely like tea, but with poison in it.

Re:Tea? (-1, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235252)

A photo of whom, you slack cunt?

Re:Tea? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235390)

Hmm, with me, I guess it should be either Balvenie [wikipedia.org] 21yr scotch, or a good beer (currently enjoying Hopitoulas [nolabrewing.com] as a good local favorite).

Depends if it is a school night or not mostly...hard to get up for work the next day early, after too many scotches on the rocks.

I for one would happily encourage such vending machines in the US, but if they only gave out boring soft drinks and the like...fsck them.

Re:Tea? (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235596)

Regardless of your age, sex, or other characteristics, the machines always produce a beverage almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

US version sticks to slightly diluted high fructose corn syrup.

Re:Tea? (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235656)

Whenever I use one of these they always either spit out a bottle of Clearasil, or a paper bag with eye holes cut out.

Re:Tea? (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235944)

You'd think that with all of the genetically altered and engineered food out there, they would have it altering our DNA so that an unaltered image of our faces contains what amounts to a stenographic browser cookie. That's in parallel with the old-school tech of the infrared readable barcode on the forehead.

Ready to go on new diet yet?? Maybe it is time for a list of approved geek foods.

- -
Conan, once a writer for the Simpsons, now lives on TBS. Competing slot with John Stewart?!?

Person (1)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235098)

Yeah, here we call them waitresses, and they can talk too! (and are pleasant to look at)

Re:Person (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235302)

There's waiters too you insensitive clod. (as well as unpleasant waitresses)

Re:Person (1)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235586)

English is not my mother tongue you insensitive clod :)

Re:Person (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235844)

There's waiters too...

It's ok, it doesn't appear to be his mother tongue either. ;)

Re:Person (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235438)

Yeah, this sort of technology honestly offends my sense of shibumi. Then again so do vending machines in general, but less so. Something to perform a mechanical task is one thing... an avenue for the lazy. Something designed specifically to think for you, to amuse you with strange and pointless mind rot, and to generally add more noise and more information load to your day (it talks, there is auditory load, there are suggestions to think about) is simply disgraceful.

Re:Person (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235488)

So you don't like Slashdot?

Re:Person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235526)

If you are going to try to sound intelligent, use the correct word "Shibui". Otherwise, you look doubly stupid for trying to sound more educated than you are.

Re:Person (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235756)

Shibui deals with beautiful things; Shibumi deals with the nature of beauty. To comment in general on the CONCEPT of a vending machine-- not that it's ugly or beautiful, but the very concept of its existence and its effect on life and beauty-- is more a topic of the nature of beauty than on a beautiful thing.

I don't think the machine itself is ugly. Hell, you could decorate it to be quite shibui. I think what it suggests about society and what it encourages is ugly. It is the same trend that leads people to shave with an electric shredder while texting on their cell phone and thinking ineffectively about jumbles of nothing under the honest belief that their worrying is productive, rushing out the door with a bagel they microwaved with a fried egg on it to melt the tasteless processed "cheese" (actually congealed vegetable oil) slice they paid for, only to spend half their day at work getting excited over the latest shiny but ultimately personally useless thing that came out of Apple or Microsoft that's even less functional than the last thing (more DRM, fewer features, lower battery life, does nothing but replace the last thing and force you to buy more...).

I dislike this machine. It offends my universal concept of shibumi.

Re:Person (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235550)

Where's the '-1, Pretentious Twat' mod when you really need it?

Sounds like the Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235102)

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Apple User Detected (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235104)

Offer this person:

  • Lube
  • Retrovirals
  • iPhone 5
  • Justin Bieber Cover for iPhone 5
  • Vending Machine Handjob

The possibilities are endless.

Re:Apple User Detected (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235548)

You forgot Kneepads.

In other news, (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235110)

The Japanese get a kick out of profiling and the gimmicky amusement of having a machine tell you that girls like the girly brand of tea isn't a long-term business model.

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235136)

Now I'm picturing a machine yelling at me, "Hey, fatass, maybe you should get the diet soda instead!"

Re:In other news, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235326)

On the other hand since all Japanese look alike, it probably just recommends the same things from a list so that each user in line gets something that seems unique.

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235160)

Also it's somewhat impolite to be disagreeable so, if something is telling you directly to do something you will do it.

Re:In other news, (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235568)

Only in Japan would people feel peer pressure from a machine.

Recommending beverages after physical attributes (3, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235116)

Do the machines call out? If they do I hope they sound like Bender (but you know, in Japanese):

"Hey fatass, got a nice 200 oz can of fried chicken here!"

"Hey baby! All the supermodels are drinking Diet Water, what's your deal?"

And so forth...

Re:Recommending beverages after physical attribute (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235226)

"Hey fatass, got a nice 200 oz can of fried chicken here!"

Fried chicken comes in a can now? Sweet! Now I can eat a KFC Doubledown and wash it down with even more fried chicken!

Re:Recommending beverages after physical attribute (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235272)

yo dawg, we heard you like chicken...

Re: Essence of Chicken drink (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235338)

http://www.brandsworld.us/en/products/ec.php [brandsworld.us]

I've had it, it's not... well... it is what it is.

Better than the Bird's Nest Soup, at least.

Re:Recommending beverages after physical attribute (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235520)

We're not that far [kfc.com] from fried chicken in a can.

Re:Recommending beverages after physical attribute (3, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235472)

More than likely, OmniBot 6000 recommends the most expensive item currently in inventory, and tells you the selection is based on a "complex algorithm involving facial analysis."

Re:Recommending beverages after physical attribute (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34236008)

It'll be even more embarrasing when the machine puts you in the "used girl's panties" demographic.

They have nice vending machines over there... In a little alley near my hotel they had one that sold a selection of *bottles* of whisky. Funny how that would never work ovr here because
1) Politicians would go apeshit... encouragingpeopleotdrinkwecanthavethatohnoes.
2) After sundown the machine would last less than 5 minutes before someone would smash the glass and steal the whisky.

Lawsuit city! (3, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235126)

I can't wait until a big fatso waddles up to one of these machines in America so I can see what the machine recommends. It either recommends a Diet Coke, because you're fat and need to lose a few (dozen), or it offers you a regular Coke, because it knows you probably drink a LOT of it. Its a lawsuit either way. Either the fatso has their feelings hurt and sues for emotional damage, or some random do-gooder sues for pushing sugary drinks to those who lack the willpower to say "no."

Re:Lawsuit city! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235188)

Or you walk up to one and it offers you some "Summers Eve"

Re:Lawsuit city! (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235298)

Problem is - this kind of profiling isn't against the law.

Where's the lawsuit about Tab Energy being marketted directly towards women?

Go look for it. That should keep you buys for a while.

Re:Lawsuit city! (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235754)

Very true, but GP wasn't talking about being "arrested for breaking the law", he was talking about "being sued for emotional damage" or being sued for "pushing sugary drinks to those who lack the willpower to say "no"".

Sadly, you don't have to violate an actual law to be sued. You only have to be found responsible for harm done to someone else, and that harm can be as a result of perfectly legal actions.

In fact, the fact I can be sued for doing something legal makes me sad. I should sue the ambulance-chasers for destroying my quality of life.

Re:Lawsuit city! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235886)

You can be sued but you can't guarantee you'll win the case.

There aren't TOO many cases where people have won the lawsuit where they are suing just for emotional damages. Otherwise, I could sue my employer for not letting me spend every waking moment over at a ski-resort.

You'd be in for quite a stretch if you were going to sue someone for emotional damages over being offered a beverage.

Would you like fries with that?

Re:Lawsuit city! (4, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235306)

When I was in Japan a few times earlier this decade I drank a ton of Coke. I don't know what it was about it but it was super delicious. I'm guessing it was real sugar instead of HFCS. So yeah, I hope they recommend Coke!

The catch in Japan is that it's not socially polite to walk around with drinks, you're encouraged to hang out at the vending machine and finish it off right there. Of course, taboos be damned, we had cheap electronics stores to explore.

Re:Lawsuit city! (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235662)

The catch in Japan is that it's not socially polite to walk around with drinks, you're encouraged to hang out at the vending machine and finish it off right there. Of course, taboos be damned, we had cheap electronics stores to explore.

Yeah, and they enforce it by not having recycling bins or trash cans ANY WHERE except right by the vending machines, yet somehow there isn't litter all over the place. When I was there it was incredibly warm and humid, so I'd walk around with a bottle of water or whatever just to stay hydrated, despite the lack of manners it displayed.

Re:Lawsuit city! (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235470)

It may also suggest bottled water. In Europe both CC and PC produce it, I bet that it's the same in USA.

Re:Lawsuit city! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235710)

It's interesting. A friend of mine (who's twice the weight he should be) just mentioned that one of the biggest problems is the way that people treat you - once you're more than a little chubby, you're not a person to them anymore, but rather a blob, a fat creature that takes up valuable space, and all that. Being called a "whale" is apparently among the nicer things that'll happen to you.

I knew that this was true in an intellectual way, but your post has really made it sink in. It's not so much that you insult fat people that's the problem; it's that you dehumanize them.

Re:Lawsuit city! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235992)

It's called stereotyping and happens to every group outside of what's considered socially acceptable, not just fat people.

Sounds more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235134)

"We've decided for you, so don't spend all that precious mental energy looking at the dozen buttons on the panel." Should work great in the states.

Listen you stupid machine! (2, Funny)

farlukar (225243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235152)

Listen you stupid machine, it tastes filthy! Here, take this cup back!

I wonder... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235158)

What my mohawk and facial hair would cause the system to suggest to me. Monster? Mountain Dew? Get a job and stop loitering?

I'm willing to bet it wouldn't offer me what I really want, which is an iced tea.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235332)

Maybe you should try it before making baseless assumptions. You aren't as unique as you seem to think you are.

Re:I wonder... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235700)

Sure, buy me a plane ticket to Japan so I can try it without positing a use case and then making an assumption first. Not surprised that was a coward comment.

Re:I wonder... (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235356)

That depends, you go to it often enough, and the data it's collected will say "In my personal experience as a vending machine, quite a few people with facial hair and mohawks like iced tea". And then it'll offer you iced tea.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235540)

If the machines are capable of learning, they might as well start recognizing individual faces.

"In my personal experience as a vending machine, mohawk-guy comes here every Tuesday evening to get his iced tea."

Re:I wonder... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235660)

Well recognising an individual face requires more intensive image capturing and processing - which isn't impossible its just more expensive. Then yes, essentially, you could do such a thing. But they've gone with the pseudo similar answer of generalizing a person based on the qualities it can identify, and dishing it whatever answer they have stored.

Instead of having to increase storage space for remembering each face it sees each day - Generalizing the public and adjusting rates dependant on its interaction doesn't require you to change anything on the machine, ever. It doesn't require more storage space for new faces because it doesn't remember faces. It already has a table of probably drinks per perons build, so the only thing that gets altered is the relational table of drinks to builds, which is altered at the time of interaction. Thus, you have a learning machine based on trends without any extra need to store any information than it already has the ability to store.

Re:I wonder... (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235742)

my mohawk and facial hair

Is that on purpose? Or do you just suck at shaving?

Re:I wonder... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235766)

Both.

I have lower standards. (5, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235166)

I'd be satisfied just with a vending machine that (a) was stocked with what I want, and (b) didn't steal my money when I tried to buy it.

Re:I have lower standards. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235360)

I'd call that HIGHER standards than being marketed to, and no, it ain't gonna happen.

Re:I have lower standards. (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235560)

We have a really old machine where you put all coins in a slot for each coin, then crank a handle, kinda bubble gum machine style except multiple slots like a pool table(but it spins instead of a push lever), and I have never once lost money to it. Basically the mechanism that releases the drink is completely powered by you cranking the dial, rather than some motorized component. Very much a case of simple is more reliable.

Re:I have lower standards. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235848)

We had an even simpler one that took only dimes and worked by gravity. If you didn't have a dime you could make a slug out of aluminum sheet with tinsnips (you put your initials on it so that the guy who refilled the machine would know who to come to with it).

Re:I have lower standards. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235898)

Like toasters.

Toasters from the 1950's still work today, but modern toasters have micro-controllers and other assorted bullshit and might work for 5 years if you are lucky.

Re:I have lower standards. (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235892)

Japan met that criteria years ago.
Seriously, the vending machines are one of my favourite things about Japan.

Old News (1)

the.house (917996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235192)

I just read about this in Grape Soda Monthly...

Re:Old News (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235832)

Dante Hicks is just like you. He looooves grape soda. He knows what it's like when the guy at the supermarket won't take your "food stamps". Or how it feels to wait all month for your "welfare check".

Fat People (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235198)

Somehow I don't think having Mr. Vending Machine tell all of us fat people here in the U.S. that we should maybe get a diet drink is really going to fly. I am therefore dubious of the cultural portability of this concept.

Re:Fat People (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235278)

Think in broader ways. Maybe it offers you a cheapwine/hard liqour bottle if you have a few days' worth of beard. Offers the little kids the Super Robot whatever sugar in a can etc...

Re:Fat People (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235316)

I think if you integrate some sort of gaze detection sensor you might have a winning concept for the American market.

Rather than lift your arm to physically depress a button, the machine will detect and dispense the item you are lustfully staring at. Bonus points if it assists decision making by evaluating salivary gland activity.

Re:Fat People (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235434)

Its not telling fatties to get a diet soda, its telling them to get 3 cans instead of 1...

Needed some more filler for the article (4, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235236)

But the new technology offers some frightening prospects. With machines telling us what to drink how long until we are told what to eat and what to wear? The idea of a 1984-style Big Brother state fronted by the double-headed hydra that is a computerised Trinny and Susanna is almost too scary.

Even for a joke, seriously, what? How is personalised advertisement anything close to what you just said?

Re:Needed some more filler for the article (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235658)

For people lacking self-initiative, advertising is apparently like being forced to buy things. For the rest of us, it's like spam email, to be filtered out and ignored.

Re:Needed some more filler for the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235888)

Well, about 1984, the big flaw in it is that eveything is enforced. That's not how it happens in reality, you come to that situation by taking anything you're fed. So the vending machine suggesting and your following the suggestion is one small step towards 1984. In fact, 1984 is now, think about it and see how half the people are willing slaves. Think of some ads, they're pretty simple, right? most just say buy this, buy that, now think why? -because it works, you just need to tell people something and they'll believe it. You just have to look like you know what you're doing, that's what counts for them, they hardly ever will analyze your statements for inconsistencies, lies, or whatever. Anyhow, the vending machine is a non-issue. Not really scary.

Sounds like hype. (5, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235244)

I imagine most people are trying these now for the novelty of it all. That might be the whole point, but if I normally didn't use vending machines then this probably wouldn't make me use it more than once or twice to see what it does. If I were the owner, I'd set it to recommend more expensive drinks.

Re:Sounds like hype. (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235318)

If I were the owner, I'd set it to recommend more expensive drinks.

Margin. It's the margin that counts.

Re:Sounds like hype. (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235330)

Ding. It is something new to try out - people will throw $2 into a machine to see something cool. I'd expect sales to level out in due time.

Re:Sounds like hype. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235752)

Or, someone really want these machines themselves to sell and so has a team of people buying from them to make it look like they triple sales.

Take it one step further.. (1)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235276)

..and you could see a vending machine which would only sell coke light/diet/zero to anyone with a BMI over 30. After all, a company that can create a machine which can sell me calorie-laden drinks and determine my vital statistics, can surely be sued when I develop diabetes and suffer a heart attack 10 years later?

Or maybe in 10 years time individuals will be expected to take responsibility for their own actions?

Missing Quantum Cola (1)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235280)

AHA! No wonder I couldn't find that last Quantum Cola to complete the collection. Have to go to Japan for it. The machine knows what you need.

Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235290)

Facial recognition? Japs? Same sentence?!?!?!

Re:Huh? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235322)

Facial recognition? Japs? Same sentence?!?!?!

They say the same about us!

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235564)

Facial recognition? Japs? Same sentence?!?!?!

They say the same about us!

Well, I realized that I was a bigot when I was watching Battlestar Galactica. I couldn't tell the difference between the Asian actresses who played Boomer, Athena, and the various Number 8s.

So much for not being racist!

Due to programming error, it offers Chuck Norris (0)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235294)

a Cosmopolitan, and promptly receives a roundhouse kick to the CPU...

Re:Due to programming error, it offers Chuck Norri (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235380)

It doesn't tell Chuck Norris what to drink. Chuck Norris tells it what to drink...

Seriously though, I wonder if the triple sales is simply novelty. People are using it just to see what it will suggest... that sort of thing. After the novelty wears off, will sales return to normal?

Re:Due to programming error, it offers Chuck Norri (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235576)

a roundhouse kick to the CPU...

Nah, that's just how Chuck Norris pays for all his drinks.

What do you mean, hemlock? (2, Funny)

zackhugh (127338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235344)

The sad thing is that my ex-girlfriend looked at my face and made the same recommendation. The sadder thing is that she was a machine too.

Sigh.

Re:What do you mean, hemlock? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235616)

So was the blond chick (#6) from BSG ... she was hot!

Vending machine industry in the USA is stagnant (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235374)

If we in the U.S. would more fully adopt the dollar coin, and also a $2 coin like the Toonie [wikipedia.org] , even we could have such nice things. Until then, we'll have to keep digging out pocketfuls of quarters and trying our luck with the bill acceptor.

Re:Vending machine industry in the USA is stagnant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235594)

pretty much every machine there accepts 1000 yen bills. Out of the many dozen times I made use of that feature, I never once had an issue. I don't know why machines in the US tend to eat things. I think yen bills tend to stay crisper, or we just put our dollars bills where they don't belong. Like through the laundry. Or as a substitute for napkins. Dollar-diapers? For a while it seemed like they'd become worth little enough to make that seem not such a bad idea.

Re:Vending machine industry in the USA is stagnant (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235598)

It's even one step higher than that (or one step backwards, depending on how you look at it), people in Japan can pay using their cellphones.

I can't wait for the 5$CAD coins though. I'm gonna buy a bag for my coins and tie it to my belt, next to my mana and health potions*.

* for the humour-impaired, this is a joke about how the 5$ coin is probably going to be 5 cm in diameter and weight 500 grams.

Re:Vending machine industry in the USA is stagnant (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235604)

Dollar coins are dead ends as well. I counted cash at a resort in Yellowstone for a couple of years. I can't disclose money volume due to an NDA, but I saw around 1 coin per ten thousand dollars of cash deposit (singles were at least two orders of magnitude more prevalent). Most of the interest I did see in such coins was from collectors trying to pick up presidents they were missing. The dollar coin goes with the two dollar bill or the fifty dollar bill as something that's just not necessary and near universally loathed when its in your wallet.

Instead, the future probably is prepaid debit cards. Throw a bunch of cash in a machine and get a card with that amount on it. Then swipe the card when you want to buy something.

maybe it got lost in translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235384)

It keeps recommending used school girl panties. Stupid Japanese vending machine!

Where is your stamp? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235450)

I don't get it.

You have this big machine with a matrix of choices. Either it has what you want or not. How does a "song and dance" number help sales exactly?

Do the Japanese need to be told that they are thirsty or some such?

Perhaps the vending machine is producing a stamped document of some sort... '-p

It's not like you are exactly starting with American style coke machines to begin with.

Re:Where is your stamp? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235532)

One word... "C'thulu"

If I ever go to Japan... (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235476)

If I ever go to Japan I am *soooooo* wearing a clown mask up to one of these machines.

Re:If I ever go to Japan... (1)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235584)

That's easy, it will see the big red nose and recommend "Pineapple Juice [wikipedia.org] "

Re:If I ever go to Japan... (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235678)

and you'll still get a coke.

Too early to conclude this... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235502)

I was in Japan when they rolled these out, and had a chance to drop by and see/use them at the station. It seems the recognition system wasn't working when I was there, which was only a couple days after they were installed. But that aside, what's likely increasing sales at this point is the novelty, and the news coverage. There were consistent lines in front of these things for a few days after they were installed, because they had been featured in the news on a few channels (outside of Tokyo as well). In a country where you can barely go 500 feet before you see another vending machine, having a huge (and quite nice) video display instead of the usual fake bottles/cans stands out, especially because they're in a great spot where almost anyone going to or from the local JR lines will see.

There have been video-based vending machines before, mostly from Coke. But most of the ones I had seen three years ago where gone last year- in my experience they used too many useless transition screens and responded horribly slow, making them fairly painful to use compared to normal machines. The new ones in Shinagawa station are really nice in comparison, and least do as good a job as a good old machine.

Lines tend to be self-maintaining once they form. That initial news coverage seeded the interest initially, and since then has just continued based on bystanders noticing an unusual number of people around a vending machine. A similar reason to why every Krispy Kreme in the country has hour or longer waits on weekends, even months after grand opening.

I don't see there being much of a plan to roll those machines out in many areas outside of the main cities, and even then they're going to be most appropriate in high-traffic areas like stations and airports. I imagine they use more power than a standard machine, so it wouldn't be worth it at all to replace the current machines which line the streets of less dense areas.

Would never work in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235522)

The first time a black person uses the machine and gets offered a Pepsi, Al Sharpton will organize a boycott against automated racial profiling.

I have but one request (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235566)

If they bring this kind of machine in other countries, I hope they update the thing so that it says "Share and enjoy!" after each sale.

2G1C (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235666)

The vending machines recommend beverages after physical attributes of customers are picked up by sensors which allow the machines determine age, sex and other attributes, before offering a number of suggestions.

What if there are multiple people in the photo? For example, if two girls are standing in front of the machine, does it offer them one cup?

WOW factor (1)

pinkeen (1804300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34235800)

And maybe the increased sales is the effect of the WOW factor or even simple curiosity for new things...

Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34235870)

Just like the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser from Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Technology_in_The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy#Nutrimatic_Drinks_Dispenser.

Grape soda and a banana? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34236032)

Grape soda and a banana?

What about gaijins? (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34236036)

Next time I'm in Japan, I'm surely gonna check what it suggests to a gaijin like me. Is it programmed to offer us the diet coke poison or some exotic Japanese drink like Pocari Sweat?

Asimov rule breaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34236042)

Have a can of strychnine, you horribly ugly troll!!

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