Aside from items with a lengthy shelf life, such as candy bars and potato chips, purchasing any more substantial food from a vending machine is generally a recipe for disappointment. While devices like the pizza vending machine take a specialized approach in an attempt to improve the quality of food on offer, the shotgun approach of traditional vending machines means almost every "fresh" item ends up being anything but. But that could change at least a little bit with the EatWave, a new vending machine that stores refrigerated food and drinks and can microwave specific items before they're delivered.
While able to be stocked with the usual array of soft drinks and snack food, the EatWave also allows the vending of items that need to be heated. Anything meant to be cold drops right to the bottom as usual, while any food needing defrosting or intended to be eaten hot makes a quick stop at an internal microwave first to deliver a cooked meal in less than a minute. Various trays inside can hold up to 60 different items and can be modified for larger products.
The machine uses a patent pending microwave heating system that is claimed to be more precise than your typical home microwave to ensure any food is cooked all the way through. It only requires a few moving parts paired with gravity to run automatically and can even be monitored remotely for any malfunctions or stock shortages.
This still mostly limits your meal options to pre-packaged burritos and sandwiches, but it is a step up from the options at most vending machines. It's not hard to picture something like this becoming very popular in colleges, airports, offices, or anywhere else where people might need a hot meal on the go.
VENDture LLC unveiled the EatWave just this past week and is now selling it in select countries worldwide for US$11,995.