Virtual Grocery Shopping & Vending Machines of the Future

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The winners of the Good Design Awards were announced this week and we took particular interest in the tech design entries. While browsing the consumer services category, we came across the next-century vending machine from Tokyo. It got us excited and now we're anticipating when smart vending machines will become the norm here.

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We first noticed high tech grocery shopping when we read about Korean supermarket chain, Tesco, and their virtual supermarket. The virtual supermarket was placed in the Seoul subway stations where the exact same products in store were displayed on a screen. The idea was to make grocery shopping easy for people who are always on the go. To buy groceries, customers scanned the virtual products with their phones as each item is dropped into their online cart. The groceries are then delivered to their home.

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With that on our minds, we were particularly interested in designer Fumie Shibata's next-century vending machine. Normal vending machines in Japan already looked cool and high tech in the past. Shibata's vending machine is designed with a 47-inch touch panel and is equipped with facial recognition technology that allows the machine to detect your age and gender and recommend drinks based on it.

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Japan has always been ahead of the game when it comes to electronic money. The vending machine is equipped so you can pay for your beverages with a mobile device.

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