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Share Happy vending machine dispenses ice cream for a smile (and your soul)

Joseph L. Flatley
June 25, 2010
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We thought the Let's Pizza machine was wild, but this next item is downright scary... and delicious! The brainchild of Unilever (the company that owns Ben & Jerry's, Good Humor, Breyers, Klondike, and Wall's), Share Happy is a $20,000 Sapient-built ice cream vending machine that takes your picture, using facial recognition to determine if you're smiling and Photo Booth-esque features (superimposing "funny hats, a mustache, glasses, bow tie, afro hair, things like that," on your mug) to coax you into smiling. And once it determines that you are smiling, it gives you a free ice cream treat -- but not before collecting valuable demographic information by analyzing the image for things like gender and approximate age and asking you to sign away your likeness for promotional use. The images are sent to Unilever HQ a few times an hour, using either Ethernet, WiFi, or 3G. Camera shy? Don't worry, you'll still be able to pay for your junk food the old fashioned way. Currently being tested in Singapore, Lisbon, and Paris, with a UK test planned "soonish." Check the thing out on video by hitting the source link.

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