Ever stepped up to a vending machine and scratched your head as you mulled over the options? Now there’s a vending machine in Japan that will recommend certain products for you — based on your face.
Customers step up to the machine, which vends canned beverages, and its facial recognition software analyzes their face to determine age and gender. Then — voila! — “recommended” tags appear on the screen next to those drinks it determines you are most likely to enjoy.
“If the customer is a man, the machine is likely to recommend a canned coffee drink, since men tend to prefer these. If the customer is in their 50s, though, that recommendation is likely to be green tea,” a company rep tells Reuters, adding that a 20-something woman would get a recommendation for something sweeter. “We thought it would make it a lot more fun for the customers to have this kind of interaction with our machines, that it would improve the whole buying experience.”
Right now, there is only one of these machines being tested — at a train station in Tokyo — but the company plans to roll out more machines to other stations in Tokyo and surrounding suburbs over the coming months. They hope to have 500 units up and running in the next 17 months.
Reuters reports that sales from this new-fangled machine are triple that of regular vending machines, but it doesn’t say if it’s the novelty of the device or if people actually prefer to purchase drinks this way.