No trip to Japan would be complete without a report about their **vending machines from the future.**
A few years back, when I traveled to Japan for the first time, friends put me on scouting missions:
>”Find the [robotic vending machine](https://secure.flickr.com/photos/sanchome/525890022/) that follows you around Shibuya!”
>”Find the [SMART car](http://www.japantrends.com/smart-vendor-car-vending-machine-in-shibuya/) vending machine!”
> “Find the umbrella / necktie / lobster / underwear vending machine!”
To varying degrees of success, those were hunted down pretty easily (although I regret never seeing the robotic Coke machine).
This time around, we had our quest to find the **facial-recognition vending machines.**
The machines, developed by a subsidy of the train company JR East Co., **analyze your facial features to determine your age and gender and recommend a drink accordingly.** They also change recommendations to match time of day and temperature. It uses algorithms such as men prefer canned coffee and women like slightly sweeter drinks.
**[Sales from these machines have tripled](http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/15/us-japan-machines-idUSTRE6AE0G720101115)** in comparison to regular machines.
**The photo is of Peter, disapproving of the machine’s recommended energy drinks, since he in fact wanted an orange juice.**
A near-perfect future. ^^