Vending machines are pretty straightforward in terms of their use. You put money into the coin/note slot, press the item you want, get your item, and you’re good to go. However, over in Japan, it seems that some vending machines are taking things to a new level by introducing facial recognition systems.
As reported by SoraNews24, it seems that beverage maker DyDo are installing facial recognition systems in their machines. These machines are made in collaboration with NEC which uses NEC’s Bio-IDion facial recognition systems. The idea is that by scanning your face, you can make payments without actually having to use cash.
Customers will be required to register an account by submitting a photo and linking a credit card, so when the machine recognizes your face, it will automatically charge your card with your purchase. This will come in handy if you don’t have any cash on you and want a potentially faster way to pay. It should be noted that some vending machines in Japan already offer alternative payment methods like using train passes, so this would not necessarily be the first contactless option.
That being said, we have to wonder about the privacy implications of using facial recognition. Cash offers a degree of anonymity, but using your face could lead to tracking, especially if they know which machines you are visiting. The new vending machines will initially be part of a 3-month trial where they’ll be limited to DyDo and NEC’s offices and factories, before being pushed out to the public assuming the trials go well.