Memo from the Dep't of Dumb Ideas: Interactive soda machine

July 26, 2009 by Dave Haynes


There was a lot of fuss a few months back at CES when Coke and Samsung announced a touchscreen vending machine that allowed users to do all kinds of touchy thingies with the screen, instead of just feeding it money and pressing that big piece of printed plastic with a brand stamped on it.

People who’ve never been to a meeting where the word “Operations” was uttered clapped their hands excitedly.

People who’ve had to put things out in the public and keep them running looked at the thing and thought, “Oh, like that’s gonna last.”

So here we have a Gizmodo reader posting an image of a blue-screened Coke machine at some mall, with a nice little paper out of order sign stuck on for good measure. It might be the OS, might be the software. The real story here is someone getting the not-that-bright idea of turning a mechanical device that is pretty much bulletproof – a coin-operated vending machine — and making it into a very expensive, unreliable computerized lemon.

An attract screen on a vending machine that runs independently of the actual vending system makes some sense. A fussy touch app that is part of the operating core of the thing, makes very little sense.


  1. […] guy for a few years for Samsung. He found his way to Sapient after working with that company on the Coke digital vending machine, which made the trade show rounds and found its way into some public locations. That, he would say, […]

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