Vending Machines That Read Your Mind: Could This Be The Future?

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Courtesy of JR East

These days, even the most ordinary pieces of technology are becoming super-smart.

The East Japan Railway has installed what can only be described as a ‘smart’ vending machine in Shinagawa station. The machine has a built in camera that can focus on a customer’s face and tell what age and gender they are. It groups people into decade categories, up to age 90, with 75 percent accuracy. The clever device is then able to recommend beverage ideas based on information obtained from market research.

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The vending machine also has a 47-inch display touch screen that shows an image of the drink you are buying. Gone are the days of seeing the product before you buy. “We’ve been developing this technology for five years,” says Mitsuharu Ookubo, a spokesman for the East Japan Railway, “and it cost five times as much to build as a normal vending machine.” Is it really worth it? – I hear you ask. Apparently so. JR plans to install 500 of these machines throughout the Kanto region in the next two years. They even plan to use it to screen adverts when there isn’t someone standing directly in front of it. Seems marketeers know no boundaries.

Well, if vending machines can read our minds today, what will they be able to do tomorrow?

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