Thursday, March 18, 2010


Vending machines are a part of the landscape in many developed countries where human dispensing system is becoming cost prohibitive. The easy accessibility in places where crowds congregate like Malls, Rail Stations, Air Ports etc makes vending machines, especially those card operated ones extremely popular. Now comes the new innovation in the design of vending machines where three dimensional view of the products vended can be obtained for a better understanding of the product and its nutritional content.

"But now there's the Diji-Touch, which is modeled after the iPhone. Here's how it works: There are digital images on the screen of the machine and if you tap on one then it enlarges and spins it around so you can see the nutritional content. Perhaps this is the best feature of the machine. How many people are actually going to want buy the bag of sour cream cheese potato chips after seeing the nutritional info? Perhaps I'm just being overly optimistic. The slick design is targeted at making a vending machine experience fun and exciting, which sounds like the perfect cover for targeting kids. How will this affect the amount of junk kids eat and public health in general? It's vaguely reminiscent of the Army using video games in malls to recruit teenagers. Why oh why, can't we use our technological powers for good?! Well, the iPhone app for finding fruit trees gives me some hope".

Considering that in the US alone there are more than 7 million vending machines in operations with a customer base of 100 million and the business worth $ 30 billion an year, any customer friendly novel innovation can attract substantial followers. One daunting thought, however, is whether consumers will start shunning the products vended once they know about the calorie, sugar, fat and sodium contents of the products they intend to buy.


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