SapientNitro has developed the world’s first “smile-activated” vending machine for Unilever, rewarding grins with free ice cream. The machine works with an “attractor screen” immerses a passerby into the world of augmented reality. Once drawn closer to the machine, the person is prompted for a big smile and the “smile-o-meter” measures his or her grin.
A photo is then taken and with permission uploaded onto Facebook. The consumer can pick out his or her free ice cream by using the touch-screen interface on the vending machine. 3G technology then enables uploading and sharing of smiles via social media with the user’s permission.
Unilever is the world’s biggest ice cream manufacturer with brands such as Wall’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Good Humor, Breyers and Klondike in its global portfolio.
“We’re really excited about the possibility this new technology holds for Unilever. It offers a revolutionary new way for consumers to buy ice cream and, simultaneously, a revolutionary brand experience,” said Ian Maskell, global brand development director for Wall’s at Unilever.
“You would expect nothing less from Unilever, a company highly respected for innovation, than to introduce an industry-leading brand experience,” said Kim Douglas, managing sirector of SapientNitro UK, and global lead for Unilever. “We are thrilled to work with Unilever on this, and look forward to seeing the vending machine being rolled out into other markets around the world.”
Technologists at SapientNitro used facial recognition, 3G and Facebook to develop the technology.
SapientNitro also developed the graphic language, interface design and the unique animation style for the vending machine.
Samsung was the screen provider and Sanden Vendo supplied the vending machine.
The smile-activated ice cream vending machine made its first public appearance in May 2010 at the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal.
It will roll out into high-traffic consumer locations like shopping malls across the globe over the next 18 months.
A demonstration video of the machine can be viewed at the following link: http://www.sapient.com/en-us/SapientNitro/Work.html#/?project=157