Everything wants to get ‘smart’ these days, including smartphones and smart TVs. Well, vending machines do not want to miss the boat either, which is why Intel and Kraft Foods have come together to roll out a “smart” vending machine which is said to be able to analyze one’s age and gender. Known as the iSample, its main purpose is to offer customers trials of a new dessert. This will indirectly enable Kraft to make sure each shopper gets what he/she wants, although this adult-focused promotion does exclude the little ones.
Intel wants to retrofit the technology to existing vending machines so that different companies are able to study just what kind of people alongside their personalities and quirks are picking up their wares. An optical sensor is fitted to the top of the machine, enabling it to recognize the human face’s shape. This image will be fed back to a computer processor that does a bunch of calculations on the face, determining the shopper’s gender while categorizing them into one of four age brackets. Taking just a fraction of a second, this data will then determine what, if any, product should be served to the shopper. I wonder if putting a photograph up or wearing a mask would be able to fool the machine.