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Pudding vending machine tells kids to scram

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December 22, 2011

A new sampling machine for Jell-O Temptations scans consumers for their age and blocks chi...

A new sampling machine for Jell-O Temptations scans consumers for their age and blocks children from receiving treats

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Let's say you had a sweet dessert that you wanted to market specifically to adults. Now to spice things up, let's say you're also a Scooby Doo villain and can't stop wringing your hands over all the "meddling kids" who are going to ruin your campaign trying to steal delicious treats from your intended audience. Well, what can you do about it? Make a vending machine that detects the age of its users and tells any approaching children to get lost? Apparently yes, as Kraft Foods has introduced a new machine that scans a person's face to determine their age and dispenses free samples of their Jell-O Temptations dessert only to adults.

When over $1 billion is being sunk into food sampling each year, companies want to make sure the product is reaching the right customer. To that end, Kraft Foods is rolling out a new sampling machine in Chicago and New York City to distribute its pudding-like Jell-O Temptations desserts that can detect whether the customer is a child or a grown-up. Developed by Intel, the machine uses a special camera to scan a person's face to measure features such as the distance between eyes and ears and determine their age. If it detects a child, it shuts down and asks the child to move aside for a more deserving adult, basically acting as a cold, unfeeling stand-in for every child's mother. No word on whether the machine advises children to "come back when you're older, kid" or "when you get a job, you can have all the pudding you want."

A new sampling machine for Jell-O Temptations scans consumers for their age and blocks chi...

Kraft's goal of course is to ensure its samples are reaching their target demographic, but also hopes the odd machines will draw in consumers as well. According to Charlotte Maumus, PR rep for Kraft:

"Temptations is the first Jell-O dessert made just for adults, so it makes sense that this breakthrough technology dispenses free samples to adults only. Showcasing the future of how consumers could interact with products and sample more easily, if the machine detects a child, it will shut down, asking the child to step away from the machine. But if it detects an adult, then a tasty sample is dispensed."

It's probably a good measure to prevent unmonitored children from taking more than their fair share of pudding cups, but there's definite potential for at least one super villain to be born out of this.

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher
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13 Comments

Brilliant! Train all your future customers to hate your company. Actually, it's worse than that:

Mom at supermarket: Bobby, you want some Jello dessert?

Bobby: Naw...I don't think I want any more Jello.

Mom: Why?

Bobby: 'cause I hate 'em; their pudding machine told me to "get lost".

Schmerdtz
22nd December, 2011 @ 03:37 pm PST

With the above poster's logic, kids would hate cars and choose not to drive when they reached the legal age to do so. They're CHILDREN... Kids don't boycott things they can't have. They wish, hope, ask, or scheme to get it.

More likely scenario:

Bobby: Can I have some of the pudding in that machine?

Mom: Sure I'll get you some.

mhmm
22nd December, 2011 @ 04:35 pm PST

I can see kids wearing halloween masks as they approach the machine...

And I thought kids were more effective at persuading their parents to buy something than direct advertising... :-))

agulesin
23rd December, 2011 @ 04:14 am PST

What? Adults need special adult pudding? Haha, if you can't eat pudding cause pudding is for "children" then I think you need to relax and grow up. The picture on the box makes it look pretty tasty though. It's a good avertising tactic think of all the free publicity this is getting.

Samantha Renault
23rd December, 2011 @ 05:24 am PST

In Europe they had vending machines that sold cigarettes. They used the same technology. Do you know what the kids did? they brought a picture, a newspaper, a movie cover. There were reports of the many different ways to trick the camera.

THIS IS FOR PUDDING, who cares?

Ricky Livingston
23rd December, 2011 @ 09:16 am PST

Wouldn't it be cheaper to pay human beings (with built-in child detection!) to hand out pudding than to buy these custom-made pudding vending machines?

That said, I'm sitting back and awaiting the first lawsuit by a dwarf denied pudding because their features don't match that of standard-size adults.

alcalde
23rd December, 2011 @ 10:27 am PST

I can see these devices being used for vending machines for age legal things like alcohol and cigarettes if they could be accurate enough. I doubt they could ever get real specific due to other influences on maturity or growth like hormones and diet.

Ed Reed
23rd December, 2011 @ 10:40 am PST

The parents might buy it... just as they're the ones who buy toys... but it's quite probable it's the kids that want it. In that sense, this might backfire.

alcalde
23rd December, 2011 @ 10:53 am PST

As a former child who had adult tastes if, I were to have been told by this machine that I was not old enough to buy from it I would have disabled this machine so no one would be able to sample it's food. Oh yeah, I was smart enough as a child to figure out how to disable a stupid machine. Not all children are ignoramuses.

YukonJack
23rd December, 2011 @ 12:38 pm PST

You can't have pudding, if you don't eat your meat!

It't just another brick in the wall.

samsoltan
23rd December, 2011 @ 12:46 pm PST

And if it didn't deny it to children there would be a similar article talking about how the evil corporation is luring kids in with free calorie laden food. If the patented want their kids to have the pudding they can give it to them.. children shouldn't be accepting food from strangers even if it is a machine anyway.

Matthew Hallacy
24th December, 2011 @ 07:58 pm PST

Cool idea

Guido Kyosuke
28th December, 2011 @ 10:19 am PST

Hope it can detect the difference between little people and children.

John Carman
3rd January, 2012 @ 11:16 am PST
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