iSample: vending machine that refuses dessert to children


A vending machine that gives out free puddings to adults, but none to children sounds like something dreamed up by Roald Dahl. But the iSample machine, a collaboration between Kraft and Intel, is designed to do exactly that – and is currently under trial in Chicago and New York.
The machine uses a biometric scanner to ‘read’ the age and gender of people standing in front of it, and will serve adults, but refuse children. The two machines are on trial in Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and New York’s South Street Seaport. The iSample is designed to offer free samples of Kraft’s new Temptations jelly – a dessert marketed at adults.
It’s clearly a promotional tool – but the biometric technology behind it is serious, and already under test by companies such as Gillette. The scanner uses biometric data to ‘guess’ the age of people standing in front of it, dividing adults into four ‘age brackets’. Other software has already been shown to be able to ‘guess’ ages to an accuracy of around five years.