Smile for the camera (and the drink).

There are a ton of vending machines in Japan, but we can’t help but feel a little extra excitement when we come across one from beverage maker DyDo. While they’re still mechanical merchants, DyDo’s machines often have a little more personality, since many are equipped with a speaker that thanks you in the regional dialect of DyDo’s home prefecture of Osaka, and in the past it’s made vending machines that also give you a motivational message or loan you a free umbrella on rainy days.

Now DyDo’s vending machines are set to become even friendlier with a new function that allows you to make purchases by saying “Hey, dude, you know I’m good for it, so let me have a drink, OK?”

As part of a joint project with tech giant NEC, DyDo has begun equipping vending machines with NEC’s Bio-IDiom facial recognition systems. By creating an account (via your smartphone) and registering your photo and credit card, the machine lets you use your face to buy drinks, with no need to insert any coins or bills or use any sort of prepaid IC card.

▼ The facial recognition machines have a special panel next to the product display area.

In addition to a facial scan, you’ll also have to enter a four-digit code number (chosen when you create your account) to complete the purchase. Ostensibly, this should prevent your less scrupulous acquaintances from knocking you out and propping you up in front of the machine to score free drinks like super-cheap super spies.

The machines are already in use from July 3 at select DyDo and NEC offices and factories as part of a three-month trial. If all goes well, the next step would be introducing them to the open market, and who knows, if the idea catches on industrywide, before long we might be using our lovely faces every time we’re craving some “mayonnaise soda” or secret Akihabara vending machine sandwiches.

Source: DyDo via IT Media
Images: PR Wire
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