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Safety First!

Students at MIT have designed a particularly innovative machine for the vending of bicycle helmets, to wok in conjunction with Boston’s “Hubway” bicycle sharing scheme.

Research into the Hubway scheme showed that only around 30% of the users wore helmets, which obviously is not very safety conscious! Despite local retailers selling heavily discounted helmets, users did not seem to embrace them. Enter 12 undergraduates of MIT Mechanical Engineering 2.009 class…Students at the Institute are renowned for innovative design and successfully designed the prototype for the “HelmetHub.” This vending machine is half the size of a regular snack or drinks machine and features a touch screen in line with the design of the Hubway along with solar panels for power. The machine dispenses adjustable helmets for $8 which users can either keep and re-use or return for a partial refund, as helmets are then taken to be inspected and cleaned.

Currently this is a prototype machine, but the students are in talks to build a Beta version which could be put to the test by the summer.

Have you ever used a bike-share scheme, such as Hubway or the so called “Boris Bikes” in London? Of all the bike-shares, only Melbourne, Australia has a helmet vending machine but it is far bulkier than the tight space saving option offered by Hubway. If you use a bike share programme, would you be tempted by the shared helmet as well? Do you ride your own bike with a helmet? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

Got Milk?

British shopping institution Selfridges have introduced an interesting new vending machine within their famous food hall.

This machine is run under a concession by Sussex farmer Hook & Son, allowing customers to get a real taste of the Great British Countryside by selling litres and half litres of raw milk (unpasteurised, untreated – straight from the cow!)

There is some controversy surrounding the machine and the sale of raw milk as technically it is illegal in the UK to sell unpasteurised milk – unless direct from the farm or a farmer’s market- but Selfridges have reported it to be quite the success! Customers in the city appreciate the chance to try something the way it is without anything added or taken away, whilst older customers have said they appreciate being able to drink the milk they did as children.

Now, I live right out in the sticks, next door to a real, working dairy farm so can have raw milk any time I choose to – it doesn’t appeal to me, not because of health risks but because milk still slightly warm from a cow freaks me out. I’m sure the milk in Selfridges will be cooled thanks to the machine refrigeration to optimum drinking temperature but I still don’t think I would be tempted to try it next time I’m in London. Would you try it? Have you tried raw milk before? Have you got any ideas for something bizarre and quirky to be put in a vending machine?

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

Flying the kite (mark)

So, you may have previously read our post about condom vending machines within schools here, which encourages safe sex to be encouraged in schools. However, you may not have heard about a government initiative in Johannesburg which, despite its best intentions failed in a huge, huge way.

The Society for Family Health in Johannesburg ran a huge campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safe sex and sexual health, yet despite their best intentions, the use of a “low budget distribution company” meant that condoms stapled to fliers were all perforated as they had been attached carelessly, which ended up actually posing a risk for the innocent victims using a free condom.

This just goes to highlight how important it it to use good quality condoms, and distribute or supply them in a sensible, responsible way. Intelligent Vending’s various  lines of condoms come equipped with the Kite-mark so you are assured of quality, and filling a washroom machine with these ensures that no damage can happen to the condoms by them being passed around individually, or that no silly mistakes a la Johannesburg would happen again!

 

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

No shirt, no shoes…

Left the house without your Tee shirt? Gone out for lunch and spilt ketchup down yourself? Has your children run through a water fountain and come out the other side soaking wet through?

Well now thanks to Coinstar (you know – the machine in the supermarkets you throw all the change you’ve had sitting round the house into so you don’t have to count it and take it to the bank) and online tee shirt store Threadless, should any of these predicaments happen to you whilst out and about in Chicago, USA where the machines are in trials in malls, you’re not going to be caught short, nor are you any longer going to have to venture into a store and deal with a sales assistant who will probably just stare at your new ketchup’d tee shirt.

Now, thanks to the Threadless machine you can slide on up to it, pop in your money and pull out a super cool tee shirt before anybody realises how clumsy you are!

Alongside tee shirts printed with the designs currently available on Threadless’ website, there is also the option to purchase tote bags, onesis, hot water bottles and hoodies.

“E-Commerce” is looking like it will become a huge player in the retail market in the not too distant future. As QR codes become more popular, companies are going to see more and more the benefit of having an automated vending machine rather than floods of staff who either mooch around looking sullen and that they can think of a million places they would rather be, or jump and of the shadows and terrify the customers (I’m looking at you, Hollister) not only will it save money on staff costs, but also adds more of a novelty for consumers, a machine they haven’t seen before catches their eye, they buy a great quality product at it, potentially cheaper than its equivalent in a shop (in line with online prices) and without the hassle of queuing, listening to awful, too loud music etc.

We can see this be coming a massive trend throughout the retail market. Have you ever considered vending your product in a similar machine? Let us know in the comments below! And, as ever, if you have any questions regarding what you can and cannot vend, or how we can help you reach your dream of vending your product do not hesitate to get in touch!

 

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

I missed you so!

Now this is clever! Ever wanted to greet (or be greeted by) your nearest and dearest with a banner expressing how much you missed them? Hours to prepare a banner of epic proportions from a bed sheet is not something most people have the time to do these days so the clever people over at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport have installed a ‘bannerXpress’ vending machine. Through this machine, you can design your own banner and print it off on canvas in just a matter of minutes, costing between 4 and 15 Euros.

The banners are waterproof and should therefore last a few trips to the airport should your other half be a frequent traveller and you want to act out ‘Love Actually’! The company behind the machines are looking to expand into concert arenas and sports grounds – so you’ll never be far from the opportunity to make an I <3 Justin Bieber banners – along with other airports.

Personally, I think this is a lovely idea. How many times have you been picked up at the airport and heard “oh, I was going to make a banner but I didn’t have time”?! Well, now there is no excuse thanks to this nifty machine! The machine launched yesterday, if you happen to be flying into (or out of) Shriphol Airport let us know if you see – or use- the machine. I’d love to know what the banners actually turn out like!

 

Happy Friday!

– Saskia

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

Pay with potatoes!

Lays Crisps (Walkers in the UK) have introduced a new promotional machine to show how fresh and pure their crisps really are. Instead of paying with spare change, consumers are asked to put a whole potato into the vending machine and then watch as it is washed, peeled, sliced and fried to be turned into the ready salted crisps they know and love, quite the contrast to last weeks post about free crisps when the recession is mentioned!

This is a digital video, but gives a great insight into how the machine will work and could potentially brighten up snack time, especially as it shows the whole process of getting a bag of crisps, right from real potato, to being sealed into their bag for freshness.

Lays Vending Machine

Here at Intelligent Vending, we think this is a fab machine, exciting to watch and also serves as a reminder as to where food actually comes from, the act of putting in a real, possibly field-muddy potato brings the bag of crisps back to earth, especially for children who are perhaps so used to eating from a packet that they wouldn’t even know that crisps are made from potatoes grown in muddy fields.

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

There’s no such thing as a free meal…

An artist from Plymouth College of Art, Ellie Harrison, has created an installation names “vending machine.” This, however is not your typical vender, OH NO! Here, you are not given the option of what flavour crisps you would like, nor which spiral you would like them to fall from. You are not even given the chance to pay. Harrison’s installation is instead linked to a computer, and a big screen. The computer feeds the vending machine information directly from the BBC’s RSS feed, and when the word “recession,” or anything recession-related is fed through, BOOM, free crisps! This is where the big screen comes in, as 1ft high letters on the screen announce “FREE FOOD” with the theory that students and visitors to the college will then go running to the installation room.

After a successful run in Plymouth, the installation and it’s sister project- a child’s mechanical car which runs on the same principal- have moved around the country, it’s latest incarnation was at Intelligent Vending Ltd’s local gallery- QUAD Derby, hence it coming to our attention. Vending Machine and the exhibition it is a part of, the Ha Ha Road, is said to be a chance to look at the funny side of life that often gets forgotten with the hard slog of real life. Although appearing as an act of generosity, and could brighten up a customers day, the machine also hints towards a dystopian view of society when eventually we may not have the option of food on demand and is instead controlled by political or environmental events.

We here at Intelligent Vending Ltd, however are choosing to view the installation as a nice way to brighten someones day during the doom and gloom of current economic times. We applaud Harrison’s work on this project although we don’t think that free vending due to what is on the news is something our customers are going to take on anytime in the near future!

 

– Saskia

 

 

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

French bread fresh from the vend!

A baker in France has come up with the ingenious idea that he can stock a vending machine with par-baked bread, which once selected is baked in an in-machine oven and delivered to the customer. Featuring a touch pad front plate, the machine promises to at least attempt to stave off France’s hunger pangs for bread in the middle of the night when traditional bakeries are close in a very simple way.

Due to french law, which says you cannot put preservatives into the nations favourite food, french baker Jean-Louis Hecht realised he could stock part baked bread – which stays fresh for up to 3 days – ready to be cooked when customers ordered it from the machine, allowing for fresh bread to be available 24 hours a day.

Hecht is planning on rolling these machines out across France, not to rival traditional bakeries but to compliment them, as he says “bakeries will have to adapt or die” in the current economic climate.

If you’re in France, or planning on visiting soon, keep an eye out for these new machines, which will no doubt be complimented by and installed alongside the wine vending machine we blogged about here!

 

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

The Smart Butcher

A new vending machine in the U S of A has been released recently, selling, of all things, fresh meat! Being labelled the “smart butcher,” this machine is vending all of your favourite meat products, from rib-eye steak to pork chops! The businessmen trialling the idea, Chase Evans and Rob Harrison, are currently vending out of Lil Mart, Alabama but are confident they will find the perfect location for their machine, likely somewhere rural with little to no access to fresh meat markets.

The Smart Butcher is equipped with cell phone technology to inform Rob Harrison when the machine needs to be restocked, and also when a sale is made. Customers are able to pay with credit or debit card or cash, making the machine versatile and accessable to many people, who are also finding that many of the products vended are cheaper than at their local grocery store!

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd

Cigarette Vending Machine Ban Cancer Research UK Survey

Results from a recent survey commissioned by Cancer Research UK suggest around three quarters of the public support the ban on cigarette vending machines and the removal of tobacco displays from shops. The vending machine ban is due to be implemented in October 2011, while the removal of tobacco displays is set for total implementation by the end of 2013. However, both campaigns still rely on the government to commit to the regulations which are already in place.

The survey was conducted online and sampled more than 1100 adults, 73% of which favoured the ban on cigarette vending machines, and 77% were for the removal of tobacco displays from retail outlets.

A June 2009 survey found 76% backed the vending machine ban – which is actually 3% higher than the latest survey – while 70% approved of removing tobacco displays from shops. Compared with the latest survey results, this shows that popularity for removing tobacco displays from shops has increased by 7%.

It is thought the motivation behind this survey is to keep the pressure on the government to see the plans through.

Though, some are not entirely convinced by the results, suggesting that surveys from Cancer Research UK are slanted and that the results are inconsistent with the opinions of many people they ask.

Author: Intelligent Vending Ltd
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