The first modern vending machines are said to have appeared in London and New York in the 1880s and respectively offered post cards or chewing gum in exchange for a coin. Since then, folks on the move have used such machines to grab a quick snack, brush up on golf technique, make an emergency bike repair or get hold of a mini gold bar. Now cinema-goers in California queuing to see the latest 3D blockbuster will be able to shun those boring flat passive 3D glasses handed out before you take your seat, and opt for some fashionable EX3D eyewear from the vending machine in the corner.

The first EX3D in-theater, self-service vending machines opened for business on August 12 at the Century Cinemark Theater Huntington Beach and the Mission Valley UltraStar in San Diego's Hazard Center the day after. Movie-goers are offered RealD-certified passive 3D eyewear featuring Marchon3D's patented, circular lens technology that's said to spin the light as it passes through the lens, allowing users to tilt their heads or look around without affecting the 3D perception.

Each machine sports an easy-to-use touchscreen interface and stocks a number of different styled EX3D glasses in various colors - from fashion to sport to casual, and kids, too. The chosen scratch-resistant EX3D eyewear is dropped in the collecting bay on the swipe of a credit card, and prices run from US$22 right up to US$70 for the limited selection varieties. After the movie, buyers can go on to use their new glasses with most passive 3D televisions, gaming systems and laptops - or can just stow them away for the next visit to the theater.