What would you normally pay for an ice cream? £2, £3? How about a smile? SapientNitro and Unilever have revolutionised ice cream vending machines by creating the world’s first smile-activated one. The underlying technology is sophisticated, but the concept is simple: you walk up to the machine, smile and walk away with the goods.
When the motion detectors sense someone is near, the machine beckons them closer. Using face-recognition technology, it can recognises a person’s age, gender and emotional state, and measures their smile on a smile-o-meter. If they smile wide enough, they get a free ice cream.
You can also opt to have a picture of the happy snap uploaded to Facebook, which further supports Unilever’s ‘share happy’ brand message. Currently being showcased at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, the vending machine will be rolled out at high-traffic locations across the globe over the next 18 months.
From security checkpoints that recognise eyes to cameras that spot friends and family, machines are increasingly capable of smart interaction. Throw in emotion and delight, and you’ve got a memorable experience that knocks the socks off traditional advertising.