On August 10, JR East Water Business, a drink supplier and subsidiary of Japan's public train company, introduced the world's first ‘smart' vending machine at Shinagawa station in Tokyo that spies on you to appropriately "quench your thirst."
The Acure vending machine apparently one-ups both Yahoo! Japan's new 'smart' ads that record stats about passers-by and the touchscreen vending machines (from Samsung and Sapient used by Coca-Cola) by taking a shot of the consumer to capture age and gender information to recommend a tasty beverage, according to a JR East announcement in Japanese.
AsiaJin.com, a blog devoted to Asian technology trends, explains "the machine shows you a different set of beverages depending on season, hours of the day, and where it is placed," plus sold-out drinks won't appear.
JR East Water Business plans to roll out 500 Acure vending machines throughout Tokyo's train stations by the end of 2012.
To pay for your ‘smart' water experience you will have to use a cellphone-wallet or contactless Suica IC card (used for many rail fares in the Tokyo area).
See it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2hwnGrn3go (in Japanese)
Acure's site: http://www.acure-fun.net/about/index.html