Next Big Thing - Vending Machine 2.0

A futuristic vending machine with a full HD screen and facial recognition capabilities? Why not

Haven't we reached saturation point with vending machines?

While it may seem like there's a vending machine for absolutely everything – including gold bars, computer games, underwear, alcohol and even live crabs – this is perhaps the most advanced yet. Not only will it swallow your money in exchange for tasty treats, but its conventional transparent window also doubles up as a 65in full HD display with facial recognition.

What's the point of all this new-fangled tech if all I want is a packet of crisps?

According to its creators, the system can remember faces and will suggest relevant purchases for repeat customers. Facial recognition software can also determine the gender of customers and estimate their ages to serve up personalised ads with HD quality text, animations and pictures. You can even receive recommendations – think Black Mirror's 15 Million Merits. And if you're the calorie conscious type, or have a vague interest in what you're cramming down your throat, you can learn more about the item you're about to buy, such as nutritional facts and ingredients.  

Is that all it does? 

Nope, there's more. When it's not serving up information and snacks it displays a digital clock and animations and adverts designed to attract the attention of passers by. We've certainly come a long way since the ancient Greeks relied on Hero's coin-operated machines to dispense holy water, haven't we?

So when can I expect to see one at my local train station?

You'll be waiting a while. It's only in the prototype stage at the moment and resides in Japan – the land of vending machines. But the company behind it, Sanden, commands a 30% global market share for vending machines – so it has the power to make this next-gen vending machine a reality some time in the future. In the meantime, check it out in action in the video below.

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