Big in Japan: Vending Machines Get Futuristic Wide Screens

Improving on gadgets is one thing, but there’s a fine line between improvement and over-the-top futurism. This Japanese vending machine is firmly over that line with its insane 47-inch touch screen, cameras and built-in stereotyping.

When a potential customer approaches the machine, the cameras identify the person’s gender and age, then the super stereotyping software displays recommendations for drinks based on what it thinks people like you enjoy. The next time you approach one of the machines, it will remember your purchase history and make appropriate suggestions.

The first of these crazy machines was unveiled in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station; it’s just the beginning of a 500-strong planned team of wildly unnecessary drink vending machines to be installed in and around Tokyo in the next two years.

While they may not be entirely practical, these machines are all kinds of pretty. They look more like huge TVs than vending machines, and we have to admit that choosing a beverage from a gigantic, crystal-clear screen is much more inviting than the traditional method. Hopefully they attract the 30 percent in additional revenue that they’re expected to and gain enough popularity to spread to the rest of the world.

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See more in Futuristic or under Technology. August, 2010.