Vending machines get fresh start with high technology and unique ideas


New types of vending machines are appearing
all the time in Korea.
Some of them, equipped with never-before seen
technology.
According to our Lee Minyoung these convenient
contraptions are playing a higher-profile
economic and social role.
Soda, candy, coffee — these are all products
most people expect to see in vending machines.
But local startups have produced a couple
of unique new vending machines – they have
begun to play a big part in society.
“This reverse vending machine, equipped with
artificial intelligence, offers people a way
to recycle responsibly and make some pocket
change at the same time.”
This machine takes used cans, plastic bottles
and glass bottles… and gives the user money
in return.
“People usually think sorting trash is equivalent
to recycling but that’s not true.
To correctly classify recyclable waste, we
need the help of smart devices, based on artificial
intelligence.”
The key here is image recognition via deep
learning,.. based on data collected through
repetitive training.
The camera installed in the machine sends
images to the “brain,” which recognizes the
object and sorts it into the proper slot by
distinguishing whether it’s a can or a plastic
bottle.
If that high-tech machine could help save
the planet,… the rather low-tech machine
at this university could help ease the troubles
of young people seeking consolation.
The machine, by local startup Nearyou, sells
small gifts the size of a pack of cigarettes,
but the content couldn’t be more different.
Each packet has a common concern written on
the outside and prescription on the inside.
“Finals are just around the corner and I feel
so much stress.
Even though this isn’t a perfect solution,
it’s great to read warm, encouraging messages
in difficult times.”
“Vending machines are simple… and all around
us,… which makes it easy for companies to
use them as a channel to approach and communicate
with consumers.
It could even become a networking hub where
consumers can form a community based on shared
ideas,… like keeping a neighborhood green.
There are endless possibilities for turning
vending machines into even more diverse platforms.”
Lee Minyoung, Arirang News.

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