The idea of touchscreen vending machines has been kicking around since the CES in 2009. You might remember the impressive display from the collaboration between Samsung and Coca Cola (on YouTube here) with their highly interactive 46-inch LCD slapped onto the front of their new machine. Safe to say, however, this hi-tech solution for simple cold beverage vending has, as yet, failed to take off.
All that could be about to change. It appears that vending machines of the touchscreen variety could be set to go mainstream in the gizmo-mad megalopolis of Tokyo, if the new machine of local vender aCure, installed today in Shinagawa Station, is anything to go by. Vending machines and touchscreens are coincidentally, perhaps, the two favourite things of the Japanese, so it was only a matter of time really.
We stumbled upon a growing crowd surrounding the newly installed contraption. It was causing quite a stir as, one-by-one, bashful salarymen plucked up the courage to go and put the machine through its paces for the benefit of the gawking crowds. Unfortunately, we weren't afforded much time with the machine, what with frought station staff shooing us apologetically along—the rush hour torrent fast approaching—but we did manage to grab a few snaps.
Amongst all the excitement we couldn't help but spare a thought for the thousands of (heaven forfend!) analogue venders, that are now, what with technology adoption rates in Japan, surely not long for this world.
more pics of Tokyo's new toy after the jump
Despite all the technology you, of course, still have to put your back out to get the can!
Sam Dunne is a designer, strategist and writer based in London. Sam is founder of design strategy agency Cohere and Contributing Editor at Core77—reporting broadly on design, technology, food and object culture.