Smart Vending Machine Scans Your Face to Serve Up Snacks

Just how well does your office soda machine know you? A network of smart, connected vending machines will soon use facial recognition, NFC and a membership program to market and sell everything from food to electronics on their giant touch screens. The product of software giant SAP, these new high-tech machines will also use cloud technology and data analysis to make sure they stay stocked with your favorite drink and get repaired as soon as they break.

SAP Senior Director Carston Kress showed us a sample machine, which had a giant color touch screen in lieu of a window. The display had a rotating animation of snack items (sodas, candy bars, etc) on top of a lime green background. The top of the machine also had a camera, which it uses for facial recognition in order to see who it’s marketing to.

“For example, you have a group of people like us, three men and a woman,” Kress said. “This would be recognized by the machine and it can now drive a personalized campaign to the audience that stands in front of it.”

MORE: 12 Gadgets Ahead of Their Time

According to Kress, the machine would be able to determine demographic characteristics such as age and gender and display appropriate content. He said that, for example, Coca Cola could partner with a movie studio to offer an exclusive trailer on the touch screen or make it available as a download so people using the machine could view it later.

Users can pay for items using either NFC payments, a credit card, cash or other mobile wallet apps. If the machine identifies you based on any of this data, it can market snacks or other products to you based on your previous purchases. The machine will be cloud connected to other vending machines owned by the same company, so you will receive the same messages everywhere.

— Avram Piltch, Tom's Guide

This is a condensed version of a report from Tom’s Guide. Read the full report.

More from LAPTOP: