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Vending machines didn’t always just sling soft drinks and smokes. Did you know the automated peddlers have been around for about 2000 years? In fact, the very first vending machine was invented by first-century mathematician Hero of Alexandria to dispense holy water using a series of valves, pulleys and weights. And they’ve been stuffed with just about anything you can imagine since.
Let’s be real here, it was only a matter of time before the world got a vending machine for pot. Medbox, the company that produces these $US50,000 units, is ramping up and attempting to place them in dispensaries around the US. Consumers can’t walk up to a Medbox and feed it their cash, but they can tell the clerk in a state-licensed dispensary what they want.
Coca-Cola promotes its Diet Coke as the perfect soft drink for those looking to keep a slim figure. And to further drive that point home, the sugar water empire teamed up with Ogilvy & Mather Paris to create the Slender Vender — the world’s thinnest vending machine.
You could use measuring tape to steal a can of Coke from a vending machine, but if you’re a genius, why not just invent a freaking robot to do the dirty work for you? This guy did just that. He inserts his robot inside the vending machine and controls it to grab as many soft drink cans as possible. Awesome.
Occasionally, you’ll luck out and climb into a taxi cab with such amenities as free tissues, discarded newspapers or all the tourist pamphlets you can carry. But if you find yourself in New Orleans, you might end up in one of the 250 vehicles in the Orleans Carriage Cab fleet that now feature soda-dispensing vending machines.
The guilt of spending your college years dining from vending machines could be a thing of the past with a new model that serves up a piping hot meal alongside a cold drink. A company called EatWave Vending has created a refrigerated machine with a microwave inside, letting it automatically nuke pre-packaged items like burritos and sandwiches.
We’ve all smacked a vending machine at some point to free a snagged snack. But to encourage a bunch of rowdy rugby fans to choose its beer, Argentina’s Cerveza Salta created a vending machine that has to be tackled before it will give up its goods.
3D printing is very cool stuff — a step towards a Star Trek style replicator in every home and bus shelter, essentially — but it’s not exactly the speediest of processes. Right now, if you want a 3D-printed object, you’ve got to find a 3D printer or order your 3D model online. Enter the DreamVendor — a hybrid of 3D printing and vending machines.