The world's baddest (and we mean that in a good way) vending machine just went up in central Tokyo this week at the East Japan Railway Co.'s Shinagawa Station. What separates this vending machine from all others -- and makes it newsworthy for a tech site -- is the ginormous 47-inch touchscreen being wielded.
That's right, this thing packs a touchscreen larger than some home TV displays, but that isn't all it has going for it. Still images and video are fed to the machine by way of WiMAX wireless broadband, which can be used to show promotional content depending on the season or time of the day. In the heat of summer, for example, you might see a bottle of ice cold water displayed across on the screen. In the future, commercials are likely to be played, too.
The smart vending machine, which was co-developed by JR East Water Business Co., Omron Corp, and Fuji Electric Retail Systems Co., uses a built-in face recognition system to figure out the customer's sex and age, and then uses that info to display items that might be of interest. And in a move that's sure to have privacy advocates up in arms, the machine also retains customer data, like previously purchased items, which will then be used for marketing purposes, Nikkei.com says.