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Vending machines have come a long way since Heron of Alexandria introduced his coin operated holy water dispenser in the first century. Today's Japanese vending machines are full blown computers with large interactive color displays, blue tooth,
Osaifu-Keitai (wireless payment via cell phone), and multiple smart card interfaces. They dispense drinks, snacks, beer, cigarettes, contraceptives, books, ties, stockings, fried food, iPods, toys, pornography, small potted plants, cut flowers, umbrellas and rice. Some machines are able to communicate their inventory to nearby delivery trucks wirelessly. Vending machines are everywhere in Japan. There is one vending machine for every 23 people. I've always been amazed by the fact that they always work, especially given their complexity, and that they are invariably in immaculate condition. The vending machine industry in Japan employs around 1.6 million people to keep them that way. The vending machine pictured shows videos of celebrities drinking the products it contains. Using the UI you can get details about each product. I think if I spent a little more time I could have used it to do my taxes. This year they introduced liquor and cigarette vending machines that only accept
special smart cards that transmit the buyer's age. With every visit to Japan the vending machines seem to get fancier.

For more information check out:
Jidoohanbaiki - Japanese Vending Machines
Vending Machine Craze in Japan
Vending Machines of Japan (Photo Gallery)
Ikayzo - Design • Build • Localize | Web • Desktop • Mobile

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Comment by Brian on November 21, 2010 at 6:03pm
Dan you need some of these for your office.
Comment by Cameron Souza on September 15, 2008 at 10:33pm
Did this machine have the new Tommy Lee Jones Boss Coffee commercial? Celebrities will do things in Japanese commercials they would never dream of doing in the US.
Comment by Damian Davila on September 11, 2008 at 4:22pm
Those little machines rock! Pocari sweat is the bomb! : )
Comment by Mika Leuck on September 8, 2008 at 6:18pm
I like that almost every machine has hot and cold drinks. They also change the drinks all the time. Japans beverage companies are always experimenting.
Comment by Yoshi Sugawara on September 8, 2008 at 2:19pm
The interesting thing about vending machines in Japan is that you see them almost on every corner, even in the most rural areas (maybe not as fancy as the one shown).

The reason why is that most anybody can 'host' a vending machine and get a cut of the sales.
Comment by Steven Sakata on September 8, 2008 at 1:34pm
Thanks for posting I love these machines and would love to travel to japan and use them.

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