Transparent LCDs Make The Jump To Vending Machines

April 26, 2012 by Dave Haynes

I see Stratacache had the forehead-slapper of an idea to demo a new product at a vertical industry show instead of a general digital signage gathering  – putting a vending machine version of its translucent PrimaSee product in front of 4,000 vending machine people attending this week’s National Automatic Merchandising Association show in Las Vegas.

The chiller fridge versions Stratacache brought out, and copied like crazy since, this is a Liquid Crystal Display embedded in the vending machine glass, illuminated by the machine instead of normal LCD back or edge lighting.

Creating a unique point of differentiation, says the release, PrimaSee allows brands to showcase multiple translucent messages and update them instantaneously to maximize brand awareness, influence purchase decisions, and provide an innovative, interactive experience for consumers. Adding to its unique capabilities, PrimaSee Vending features an embedded media player, allowing for seamless content updates based on current products and promotions.

“PrimaSee Vending is the latest development within our PrimaSee product suite,” says Chris Riegel, CEO. “This technology provides full-motion, high-impact video to assist consumers with purchase decisions, all while allowing them to view the product on the shelves behind the message. Truly transforming the vending machine experience, this unique technology will alter college campuses, cafeterias and break rooms within the next year.”

The whole transparent-translucent thing is interesting, and waaaay more so when viable usage models start to come on the market. The first time I saw transparent LCDs, I thought, “Well that’s nice, but so?”

Putting them in fixtures in front of products makes the case. I do recall seeing at least one other company with a vending machine unit at DSE, but it looked like a prototype or concept, not a product ready to ship anytime soon (though I’ll be happily corrected by a reader).

The challenge with this stuff – as manufacturers and end-users will find out – is that the basic task of applying an LCD to glass and illuminating it is pretty easy. Getting the engineering down to make it reliable and deal with all the environmental and handling stuff that comes with being in busy retail environments is another matter. In other words, there are now multiple sources for things like chiller doors with LCDs, but the number that have been fully engineered and tested to deal with condensation, etc, etc, etc is probably much smaller.


  1. Ed Personius says:

    Very cool. Pun intended!
    Seriously, this type of messaging is similar to what I have been doing with rear projection. This application is very nice from the look of the still image. (They would do well to provide a video, but I guess that’s for their marketing people to work on.)
    Messaging on the glass generally is a powerful way to message and display. Most people haven’t yet grasped how to accomplish that cost effectively, but I think things will go that way.
    Do you know what they charge for this display? And do you know what their warranty is? That would be good to know…

  2. tlatrice says:

    How well will it stand up to someone banging on the glass when their chips get stuck in the machine?

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