Taiwan develops face-recognition vending machine

The tool recommends items for sale based on buyer profiles

Government-funded researchers in Taiwan have developed a vending machine that recommends purchases based on people's faces, one of the inventors said on Friday.

The machine, designed by the Institute for Information Industry in Taipei, builds a profile after checking characteristics such as complexion and hair color, said researcher Tsai Chi-hang. Those clues help the machine guess a shopper's gender, approximate age and other things that might be helpful in promoting a suitable product.

Researchers spent the past year using a grant from Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs to build the first machine, which was rigged up on Thursday to spit out free cosmetics samples in the institute's lobby.

The machine looks for clues like whether a person has glasses, a beard or a mustache, said Tsai. Based on that it guesses their use of make-up or frequency of shaving, Tsai said. It then might recommend a facial mask, razor, or health products that people in a certain category are statistically likely to buy.

"If you stand in front of it, the machine has ways of recognizing your characteristics, though it doesn't know exactly who you are as that would infringe on personal privacy," Tsai said in an interview.

"It's a new concept, so it's taking some time to catch on," he said, referring to a model machine installed this week in the institute's lobby.

Researchers in Japan unveiled a similar concept in August last year. The Taiwanese machine isn't a copy of that but the Taiwan researchers kept up on what Japan was doing, Tsai said.

The machine also attempts to detect any smartphones, e-readers or tablets the buyer might be carrying, the institute told Taiwan's semi-official Central News Agency. That recognition would tell the machine whether the shopper was equipped to download books, music or films.

Taiwan's institute aims to tailor-design machines for vendors, with storage capacity and exact features depending on the individual order, Tsai said. The institute has already been in touch with some vendors, he said, but he declined to say how much machines would cost.

Information on what buyers actually choose will be stored and sent to the Internet, helping retailers to analyze shopping patterns. The institute has previously researched WiMax technology and worked with China to develop the Android-based Ophone OS.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ralph Jennings

IDG News Service
Topics: Government use of IT, retail, Institute for Information Industry, government, industry verticals

Comments

Hanne

1

Maybe, instead of using this as another advertising tool, the machine could calculate the user's BMI. If the user falls into the "overweight" or higher categories, no Twinkies for you!

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?