Last September, we wrote about two intelligent vending machines from tech-savvy Japan, Taiwan's northerly Asian neighbor just 75 minutes away by plane. Now there are ten. Soon there will be 500.
We noted that new high-tech vending machines in Japan make consumers' choices for them, using a camera and software that recognises a person's gender and 10-year age band with about 75 percent accuracy. Using point-of-sale data, the vending machines can look at a person
and suggest a sports drink or a cold can of espresso coffee based on its accumulated marketing wisdom.
Now come the photos and more news about these vending machines with a soul.
Observers in Tokyo say the new machines look like digital billboards, flashing adverts on a large screen, tempting you with mouth-watering and thirst-quenching choices.
"Before you know it, the machine has guessed your age and sex and recommended a few things that you might like," says Kenji Hall, a Tokyo-based journalist who has seen the dispensers
up close and personal on the subway platforms of the city that reminds everyone of the
'Bladerunner'' movie starring Harrison Ford.
"You touch the image of the drink you want, and once you've paid, your choice drops into the dispenser below."
So take a look at what the future has in store for Japan's gadget-crazy subway riders.
But keep in mind that the JR East Water Business operation has so far installed just 10 machines nationwide. That's 10 super-vending-machines for 125 million people.
East Japan Railway, the brains and brawn behind the idea, plans to roll out 500 machines over the next two years..
For now, feast your eye on these pics.