Electronics

Coin-operated gumball machine delivers digital treats to your phone

Coin-operated gumball machine ...
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
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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The components of the Digital Gum Machine developed by the Razor Emerging Experiences team - including a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an Adafruit NFC shield, a simple reed switch and two Arduino microcontrollers
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The components of the Digital Gum Machine developed by the Razor Emerging Experiences team - including a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an Adafruit NFC shield, a simple reed switch and two Arduino microcontrollers
At the heart of the Digital Gum Machine is an Adafruit NFC shield running on some tweaked Adafruit NFC code
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At the heart of the Digital Gum Machine is an Adafruit NFC shield running on some tweaked Adafruit NFC code
Fixing the Adafruit NFC shield and Arduino microcontroller in place
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Fixing the Adafruit NFC shield and Arduino microcontroller in place
Deliciously retro-looking coin slot lever to the front of the Digital Gum Machine waiting for a 50 cent coin
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Deliciously retro-looking coin slot lever to the front of the Digital Gum Machine waiting for a 50 cent coin
The process starts with a user inserting a 50 cent coin into the slot on the from of the Digital Gum Machine
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The process starts with a user inserting a 50 cent coin into the slot on the from of the Digital Gum Machine
After turning the lever, the coin drops and a message appears on the screen instructing the user to place a smartphone near the release shoot
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After turning the lever, the coin drops and a message appears on the screen instructing the user to place a smartphone near the release shoot
The machine delivers random digital content - such as apps, movie trailers, songs or e-books - to the smartphone placed near the release shoot
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The machine delivers random digital content - such as apps, movie trailers, songs or e-books - to the smartphone placed near the release shoot
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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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
The buyer doesn't actually control what's sent from the gumball machine installed at the Razorfish office, it's been set to random
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The buyer doesn't actually control what's sent from the gumball machine installed at the Razorfish office, it's been set to random
The development team behind the Digital Gum Machine, which was designed to broaden the often limited current view of what can be achieved with NFC technology
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The development team behind the Digital Gum Machine, which was designed to broaden the often limited current view of what can be achieved with NFC technology

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 Razorfish office, it's been set to random
The buyer doesn't actually control what's sent from the gumball machine installed at the Razorfish office, it's been set to random

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

DIGITAL GUM GOODS (nfc-enabled gumball machine)

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