This smart vending machine knows how you snack

If you get your morning coffee from a vending machine, it might soon be able to recognize your face and prepare your brew without you pressing a single button. You could also get loyalty rewards for using the same machine for your caffeine fix every day, and even get special offers tailored to your preferences. 

Canonical – the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro – is working with Spanish smart vending firm InnovaPOS to make machines that do much more than just swallow your change and beep.

Not only can they be equipped with Kinect-style cameras to capture your face, they can also include Wi-Fi hotspots, extra payment options (such as NFC, PayPal and coupon codes), and even social networking options – though you might prefer the world not to know about your terrible snacking habits. Doritos at 8am again? Frowny face.

Custom treats

Coca-Cola was one of the first companies to sign up for smart vending machines, with Spanish telecoms company Movistar and Audi also getting on board. One car dealership in Singapore has created a giant ‘vending machine’ that dispenses luxury vehicles, but Audi seems to be focusing on branded drinks for now.

The InnovaPOS machines are already online and dishing out goodies in shopping malls, universities, gyms and hotels in Spain and France, and existing models can be retrofitted, so keep an eye out for them appearing on a street near you.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)