Damn machine — my Kate Spade is stuck.

Coinstar Chirp VendingTechnology innovations continue to get my attention almost every day (thank you Steve Jobs), especially ones that deal with “portable” commerce.

Coinstar, the inventor of the massively successful Red Box video kiosk, is testing an upscale kiosk system called “Chirp” in some grocery stores in TX. It sells luxury items like perfume, jewelry and handbags, at a steep discount. And to attract impulse purchases, they plan to change the items week to week, sort of like Costco’s “buy it now while you can” approach .

In Japan, they’ve developed a vending machine that uses advanced facial recognition technology to suggest a beverage based on age and gender, and research that indicates which items would be a perfect match. Claims are that they’re generating 3x normal volume. Talk about targeting!

And the latest on-trend vending success are organic, healthy food dispensers . These machines are becoming available at the perfect time, with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act being signed into law in late 2010  .  Say hello to yogurt, granola bars and fresh fruit, and goodbye to high-fat and sugary snacks. The demand and interest are there.  (A Chicago school test claims to be outselling the candy and soda machines that were traded in. Way to go, kids!)

The application of this technology is endless. Add the facial recognition technology to the organic vending machines, and you could target items or even video content to the boy or girl facing it. What about frozen snack/meal machines for the workplace, suggesting items based on gender, time of day or even times of year. (Or is that too much predestination?) Looking forward to the future to see how this all plays out!

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