A “smart” vending machine that analyses users’ age and gender has been launched in the US by Intel and Kraft Foods. The iSample is being used to offer customers trials of a new dessert.
It allows Kraft to tailor the product to the shopper, and exclude children from the adult-focused promotion. Intel says it intends to retrofit the technology to existing vending machines to allow companies to study what type of people are buying their products. The machine uses an optical sensor fitted to the top of the machine to recognise the shape of the human face. A computer processor then carries out a series of calculations based on measurements such as the distance between the eyes, nose and ears. These are used to determine the sex of the shopper and place them in one of four age brackets. This data is then used to determine what, if any, product the shopper should be served. “It’s actually very quick – it’s a fraction of a second,” Michelle Tinsley, Intel’s general manager of personal solutions told the BBC.