Tagged With vending machines

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Video: One of my life dreams as a child was to be able to fool a vending machine with coin-like objects. I mean, how smart could a vending machine be, right? Wrong. More like how dumb a kid I was. Vending machines use light sensors to measure the size of a coin and electromagnets to detect the metal type to determine what kind of coin it is. If you're not shaped like a dollar and built like a dollar, you ain't a dollar in their book.

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Hundreds of images flash in front of our eyes each week as we navigate this strange machine we call the internet. But sometimes those images are lying to us. The following lies are culled from the bits and bytes that came through the tubes over the past few weeks.

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So clever, so depressing: the English town of Clifton, having dwindled in economic strength over the years, has responded to the loss of its last place to shop with a giant vending machine. The so-called Speedy Shop — really, an oversized, building-shaped machine standing alone in a dreary parking lot — is meant to help bring some economic life back to the town.

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Looks like the way we drink soda is about to get a whole lot smarter — or, at the very least, more connected. OpenStack Engineering Manager Alavaro Lopez Ortega stumbled across the fact that The Coca Cola Company recently registered no less than 16 million MAC (media access control) addresses. The question is: What exactly is Coke planning on doing with that much networked hardware?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.