Vending machines have long been a staple in hotel hallways, office lunchrooms, malls and amusement parks. Now, in the digital revolution, these machines are dispensing much more than Skittles and Pepsi. These 10 high-tech machines belong in the futuristic world of The Jetsons.
1. For a few dollars the RoboPutt will teach you to carryout the perfect putt. Using repetitive motion, visual and audible cues, you will learn to master the muscular, mental and postural skills to sink the ball every time.
2. Fido can finally go through the car wash with the windows down. The Dog-O-Matic vends dog baths with the push of a button. This contraption will have your grimy pup squeaky clean in no time.
3. After a night out on the town, should you be driving? A couple dollars and a long blow into the Alco-Buddy will tell you. This vendor dispenses your blood alcohol level.
4. Japanese brand, Asahi, is offering something for free, wifi. Much like a hot spot at your local coffee shop, these machines connect your mobile device to the Internet. And they dispense beer. For 30 minutes you can sip a cold one and check your emails. Can you spell drunk email?
5. What if a vending machine could recognize your face? Sanden Corporation, Intel, and Okaya Electronics have joined to create a concept machine with a 65-in HD transparent touch screen. As you approach the machine it scans you and makes suggestions for products based on your age and gender.
6. Dentsu vending machines don’t just vend, they grow. Well, the machine doesn’t grow, it’s the plants inside. The Chef’s Farm, as it’s called, can grow up to 5 varieties of fresh produce at one time without sunlight. It brings new meaning to local food.
7. In connection with Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Quest” campaign, Japanese vending machines are becoming a portal into the avatar world. Scanning QR codes on machines across the country earns you badges and stamps. You can compete with friends or earn rewards in the form of virtual backgrounds, character skins and other accessories.
8. When the mid-afternoon slump hits, we head to a vending machine for a pick-me-up. But what if your car could get a pick-me-up too? Panasonic Electric Works is one of 10 Japanese companies planning to make charging stations for electric vehicles. The plan is to place them near food and beverage vending stations.
9. Remember the American Gladiators TV show in the early 90’s where men in leotards tried to knock each other off a balance beam? In Japan you can setup your own Gladiator challenge with your pet Rhinoceros Beetle purchased from, you guessed it, a vending machine. These little black beasts are so popular that they sell out almost immediately.
10. You’ll feel like a prospector when you strike gold at one of the Gold To Go banking machines. Don’t worry if you left your gold coins and bars at home, these machines have you covered. And you’ll know them when you see them because the machines are gold-plated.
We may not have flying cars but the vending machine world will give you that futuristic feeling. Now, if you could only get it to take your dollar bill.