Short Assignment 5 – Vending Machine Research

Japanese Vending Machines

Japan has one of the world’s highest estimated vending machine density. According to the Japan Vending Machine Association, there is a vending machine for every 23 people. An estimated income of seven trillion yen was generated from vending machines in 2007. In the fast paced Japanese society, people depend on vending machines to fulfill their daily needs. Most of these machines sell snacks and drinks for people on the go. There are also vending machines with a built in heater that serve warm food such as fried octopus, stew, and hamburgers. Some vending machines even has fresh produce restocked everyday such as vegetables and eggs. These vending machines look like a giant cabinet with many small lockers. Bags of produce are placed inside each locker. The customer pays the vending machine, and one of the lockers will open up for the customer to retrieve the produce. Even though the produce in these vending machines are bit more expensive than the produce in super markets, it is still very popular among Japanese workers who want to make a quick supermarket run after a busy day of work.

Aside from selling food and drinks, there are also vending machines that sell household products, books, or even printing service. There is almost a vending machine for anything that you can think off. These vending machines takes the form of a traditional vending machine with a front display panel that shows the contents of the vending machine, and a hardware interface on the side for inserting money into the machine. Different vending machines are cleverly placed at different places according to the needs of the people. For example, there is a umbrella vending machine on one of the busiest street near the Tokyo Dome. It is designed to provide people walking outside with umbrellas on raining days.

Some vending machine has restrictions on its customers depending on the products it sells. Cigarette vending machines requires a Taspo card from the customer for age verification due to the fact that the smoking age in Japan is twenty years old. The card can be acquired through the government agency with proper personal identifications and other official documents. Another example is the porn vending machine. It sells porn magazines and videos. They are commonly protected with metal bars for theft. In addition, most of them have curtains that shield the contents of the machine during the day. The curtains roll up automaticly in the evening. Porn vending machines without the curtains are placed inside a hut which could be accessed any time.

Attachments are made to extend the utility of the vending machine beyond its original use. A new line of vending machines has been recently introduced in Japan featuring an interactive touch screen. The interactive screen allows customers to view area maps, local restaurants, entertainment establishments, route guidance, train schedules, and city office news. The screen will activate itself when a customer approaches and plays commercials for local sponsors. Another attachment that could been seen on vending machines is the mini recycling system for cups on some drink machines. The customer gets disposable cups from the machine for drinks. After they are done with their drinks, they can return the cups to the vending machine for recycling. In exchange they will get some money for doing so.

As the society shifts to a digital transaction era, vending machines around Tokyo train stations allow customers to pay with SUICA card, PASMO card, or mobile phone. SUICA and PASMO card are refillable traveling cards that allows people to get tickets for multiple round trips. Coca-Cola Japan has its own mobile phone payment system available at vending machines called Club CMode. Members can earn points toward free drinks and receive updates about new products. Some cashless machine even completes negates the money transaction by asking the customers to watch a thirty seconds commercial instead of paying.

Ideas inspired by or similar to Japanese vending machines:

1. LCD screen covering the entire front of the vending machine.

2.Activation of shopping menu

3. Customizable attachments

4. External USB port to use the vending machine as a printer

The machine would have a USB port where someone could easily print pictures of files from another part of the machine.

5. Using the vending machine as a recycling system

The machine would have a compartment that users could open up and put their plastic bottles in. The machine could have some internal system that reused the bottles.

Japan has one of the world’s highest estimated vending machine density. According to the Japan Vending Machine Association, there is a vending machine for every 23 people. An estimated income of seven trillion yen was generated from vending machines in 2007. In the fast paced Japanese society, people depend on vending machines to fulfill their daily needs. Most of these machines sell snacks and drinks for people on the go. There are also vending machines with a built in heater that serve warm food such as fried octopus, stew, and hamburgers. Some vending machines even has fresh produce restocked everyday such as vegetables and eggs. These vending machines look like a giant cabinet with many small lockers. Bags of produce are placed inside each locker. The customer pays the vending machine, and one of the lockers will open up for the customer to retrieve the produce. Even though the produce in these vending machines are bit more expensive than the produce in super markets, it is still very popular among Japanese workers who want to make a quick supermarket run after a busy day of work.

Aside from selling food and drinks, there are also vending machines that sell household products, books, or even printing service. There is almost a vending machine for anything that you can think off. These vending machines takes the form of a traditional vending machine with a front display panel that shows the contents of the vending machine, and a hardware interface on the side for inserting money into the machine. Different vending machines are cleverly placed at different places according to the needs of the people. For example, there is a umbrella vending machine on one of the busiest street near the Tokyo Dome. It is designed to provide people walking outside with umbrellas on raining days.

Some vending machine has restrictions on its customers depending on the products it sells. Cigarette vending machines requires a Taspo card from the customer for age verification due to the fact that the smoking age in Japan is twenty years old. The card can be acquired through the government agency with proper personal identifications and other official documents. Another example is the porn vending machine. It sells porn magazines and videos. They are commonly protected with metal bars for theft. In addition, most of them have curtains that shield the contents of the machine during the day. The curtains roll up automaticly in the evening. Porn vending machines without the curtains are placed inside a hut which could be accessed any time.

Attachments are made to extend the utility of the vending machine beyond its original use. A new line of vending machines has been recently introduced in Japan featuring an interactive touch screen. The interactive screen allows customers to view area maps, local restaurants, entertainment establishments, route guidance, train schedules, and city office news. The screen will activate itself when a customer approaches and plays commercials for local sponsors. Another attachment that could been seen on vending machines is the mini recycling system for cups on some drink machines. The customer gets disposable cups from the machine for drinks. After they are done with their drinks, they can return the cups to the vending machine for recycling. In exchange they will get some money for doing so.

As the society shifts to a digital transaction era, vending machines around Tokyo train stations allow customers to pay with SUICA card, PASMO card, or mobile phone. SUICA and PASMO card are refillable traveling cards that allows people to get tickets for multiple round trips. Coca-Cola Japan has its own mobile phone payment system available at vending machines called Club CMode. Members can earn points toward free drinks and receive updates about new products. Some cashless machine even completes negates the money transaction by asking the customers to watch a thirty seconds commercial instead of paying.

Ideas inspired by or similar to Japanese vending machines:

1. LCD screen covering the entire front of the vending machine.

2.Activation of shopping menu

3. Customizable attachments

4. External USB port to use the vending machine as a printer

The machine would have a USB port where someone could easily print pictures of files from another part of the machine.

5. Using the vending machine as a recycling system

The machine would have a compartment that users could open up and put their plastic bottles in. The machine could have some internal system that reused the bottles.

Inspiration for vending machines:

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