SCENE IN TOKYO: Touchscreen Vending Machine

SCENE IN TOKYO: Touchscreen Vending Machine

...wherein we sink teeth into a flaming cliché and fiddle around with homonyms and wordplay transitive to retelling our daily living, working, and existing as mostly sentient bipedal mammals, hive-minding about the big, big city...with video makers in our pockets!

• Tokyo Street Shots: The Living Gallery


Touchscreen Vending Machine (TRAIN STATION, TOKYO)

When it comes to product consumption vectors in Japan, whether they provide food, drink, or the random supplies of daily life, the only animals more common than convenience stores are vending machines. Useful, reliable, helpfully parasitic artifacts of modern Japanese life, and they're never more than a few minute's walk from...well, basically anywhere.

Meal tickets. Food. Drinks. Umbrellas. Random surprises. Buyable.* 

Touch It:
It's SuperTech

So, here's the math: If Location = Japan + Human Presence of One or More ∴ Vending Machine Exists in Immediate Vicinity, and they are really coming into the information age. Touchscreen units like this one here increasingly populate Tokyo area transit hubs, and it's worth taking a moment to consider the technological advancement and relative luxury these machines represent.

First of all, touchscreen vending machine, okay! 
That alone, conceptually, is amazing. Broken down a bit further, it's also kind of amazing that we have the societal wealth and material abundance to provide a supply of high-quality, touch-enabled, large-format screens dedicated to single-purpose vending machines. Well actually
, single-purpose isn't entirely accurate...

As you'll see in the video, these machines also provide information about the drink, are networked to provide the current weather conditions and forecast (and probably phone home when they're running out of stuff or being molested), accept mobile/cashless payment, and scan your face to determine your mood, suggest attitude enhancement exercises, dish out beauty advice, and provide stock tips.

...well, maybe those last few features aren't turned on yet - but these machines do have a camera watching the buyers, so "yet" is more appropriate that we might think. Have a watch. It's the future, man.

Oh yeah, and the past, it's still around, too:

Addendum on Japanese Vending Machine Ubiquity & Variety:
If one had to guess, one would guess that there are probably around 250,000 vending machines in in the Tokyo Metro Area (could be more, but I'm not counting), and naturally, not all are created equal. Almost all have lights indicating supply (e.g., red light = sorry, no chunky aloe sugar water or hot canned corn soup to sell at this time), some of them verbally welcome and thank you for your purchase, many accept mobile/cashless payment via NFC cards/devices, and nearly all are accessorized with built-in or adjacent recycling bins.

On the other end of the spectrum, in parts of the countryside, there are a few ancient survivors that sell beer and cigarettes with no age restrictions, and of course there are the run-down, crappy-yet-still-functional ones sputtering along, often to be found alongside rural roads in the middle of nowhere, yet somehow electrified and fully stocked. 

Japan, yo.

*Stories, urban legends, and secondhand anecdotes you might have heard about Japanese vending machines selling used women's underwear, handcuffs, ball gags, puppies, unclaimed white people, etc., while not necessarily untrue, are wildly exaggerated. The existence of a handful of those in the odd sex shop does not a cultural trend or proclivity make.

Food Tech News and Coverage at AkihabaraNews
Japanese Culture

• • •

Video by Nayalan Moodley, AKA DarcNoodles -


Related Articles

Ralph Baer - Video Game Console Inventor -
Though he's not regarded in the same fashion, considering the impact this one guy has had on the entirety of humanity, in our opinion it's completely reasonable to place Baer among the ranks of your Steve Jobses, Bill Gateses, and Jeff Bezoses.
HAL Suit Goes German! -
Tsukuba City-based Cyberdyne, Inc.’s HAL suit has reached a number of milestones this year, and with news last week that the device received third-party approval from Germany-based certification agency TÜV Rheinland, it's time for the cybernetic prosthetic to go international. - Ravijour True Love Tester Bra

Technology continues to break new ground. Last week in Japan, the latest development in Smart Clothing was unveiled, this time in the area of love - helping women understand their bodies, and helping men understand women's hearts.

There are many strategies employed by men around the world to unlock a woman's heart, which, as many of us know, is a good way to unhook her bra…

But just what is the right formula? What does it take to get the job done, and how do you know when it is all systems go…?

TokyoStreetView: Yurikamome Hyperlapse (4K VIDEO) -
What I personally like about the Yurikamome is that, because you are gliding above the ground and between buildings on a winding track, it feels as though you’re traveling through the city aboard some kind of hover car.
Tokyo Midtown Illumination Animation: Japan is Good at This (VIDEO) -
From upscale shopping centers to out of the way local grocery stores and business of all sorts (even a few private homes here and there), Tokyo is currently enjoying a very tasteful veneer of light-based holiday spirit. Whether we call them Christmas Lights, Holiday Decorations, or simply, as do the Japanese, Illumination, there’s no doubt that Japan both loves to play the game and is particularly good at it.
Robots are the New Mexicans and ActiveRobo SAM is Japan's Newest Mexican
Section A is our editor being furiously angry at robotics coverage and the corpsifying institution of journalism in general. Section B is some very interesting robotics news from Japan (telepresence robotic heavy equipment operation!). Section C is the bow on this wild ride robotics feature. Choose your own adventure(s)!
Tokyo Tilt-Shift Timelapse Pastel Diorama Part 3: Night & Day (VIDEO)
Those who’ve browsed around our video collection know that we’ve long been enamored with the work of mysterious Tokyo photographer darwinfish105. This latest effort, one we’re putting in the Tokyo Pastel Diorama Series, once again makes the world’s largest city look quaint and cute in one composition, vast and ominous in another.

At Keio University, the Takahashi Laboratory, in the Department of System Design Engineering (Faculty of Science and Technology) is doing research to develop products and systems that are useful to society, through an approach called model-based control.

Sanwa Supply started selling a mobile digital microscope and camera (400-CAM010N), which is able to focus on an object with a maximum 500X zoom, for ¥11,800.

400-CAM010N looks like a normal compact digital camera at first sight, but it can take super detailed photos of fine details, such as that of material fibers, that a regular digital camera cannot do. Not just a tool for micro observation, for those who have poor eyesight, it can be used as a magnifier while they read small characters.

AkihabaraNews on YouTube!

AkihabaraNews on YouTube
The weekly roundup of our new, original tech videos from here in Tokyo and all over Japan, plus favorites from our partners and the best clips from the past week's posts - subscribe and automate! 

Seavac has been researching the conventional coating technologies using TiN, Ti-Al, and CrN, and developed ZERO-I, a new coating that combines the advantages of all three.

"The hardness is about 3,500 HV. This coating is heat-resistant to over 1,000 degrees. Conventional Ti-Al coatings were heat-resistant to nearly 900 degrees, but this coating has even better heat resistance, and hardness as well."