he video: A Japanese company has rolled out a beverage vending machine that uses facial-recognition software to determine a customer's age and gender and then recommends specific drinks for that customer based on market research. (Watch a clip below.) For instance, says a company representative, the machine might highlight a "canned coffee drink" for a man "since men tend to prefer these," while a woman in her 20s might be pointed toward something sweeter. Six of the contraptions are now in place, and early sales have been "triple that of regular vending machines." The manufacturer hopes to roll out some 500 more by early 2012.
The reaction: It's a "gimmick," says Jonathan Bender at The Pitch, but in our "video-game culture, vending machines need to evolve." The outstanding question, says Chris Morran at The Consumerist, is whether the machine's success so far is driven by "the novelty of the device or if people actually prefer to purchase drinks this way." Watch a video of the face-scanning machine in action:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
5 surprising facts about left-handed people
- The new bride who had a horrifying allergic reaction to her husband's sperm
Subscribe to the Week