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Coin-operated gumball machine delivers digital treats to your phone

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August 6, 2012

The Razorfish Emerging Experiences team has built a Digital Gum Machine that sends apps an...

The Razorfish Emerging Experiences team has built a Digital Gum Machine that sends apps and games to a smartphone using NFC technology in exchange for small change

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As a child, there was something magically rewarding about dropping some small change into the slot of a gumball machine, turning the lever and being rewarded with some hard candy. The Razorfish Emerging Experiences team has now updated the mini-vending machine for the digital age with a prototype Digital Gum Machine that delivers a digital treat to a smartphone in exchange for a 50 cent coin.

We've seen quite a few examples of near field communication (NFC) technology here at Gizmag and although it's been around for a few years in one form or another, its rumored inclusion in the next generation iPhone is being heralded by some as its big break into mainstream, everyday use. The Razorfish Digital Gum Machine was designed to broaden the often limited current view of what can be achieved with NFC and does so in a fun way that's almost guaranteed to generate healthy waves of nostalgia.

The buyer doesn't actually control what's sent from the gumball machine installed at the R...

It was recently assembled over a two day prototyping session at the team's Frankfurt office. Within the metal base of an original gum machine, the designers positioned a Samsung Galaxy Tab to provide users with some animated visuals, an Adafruit NFC shield running on some tweaked Adafruit NFC code, a simple reed switch and two Arduino microcontrollers.

After inserting a 50 cent coin into the slot and turning the lever, a digital goodies buyer places the smartphone near the release shoot to have an app, movie trailer, song, e-book, digital lunch voucher and the like delivered directly to the mobile device without treading anywhere near cumbersome SMS texts, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi waters. The buyer doesn't actually control what's sent from the gumball machine installed at the Razorfish office, it's been set to random.

Have a look at the following demonstration video and let us know what you think.

Source: Razorfish, via Hack A Day

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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1 Comment

That looks more like the type of vending machine that dispenses condoms in restrooms, not gumballs.

Stuart M Anderson
6th August, 2012 @ 04:11 pm PDT
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