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Face-Scanning Vending Machine Denies Children Access To Pudding 215

Posted by timothy
from the you-are-an-unfit-mother dept.
smitty777 writes "What do you do when you spend over a billion dollars on products targeted specifically for adults? Simple, just put a device on your pudding dispensing vending machines that scans faces, and denies the delicious food to the kiddies. The Minority Report-like device will apparently judge the age of the individual based on the space between their eyes and ears. If the criteria is not met, the vending machine will shut down and ask the individual to step away from the machine. There are some vending machine combos that this makes sense for, but seriously — pudding?"
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Face-Scanning Vending Machine Denies Children Access To Pudding

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  • by sethstorm (512897) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @07:53AM (#38480836) Homepage

    ...even if you've had your meat.

    (apologies to Pink Floyd)

    • by azalin (67640) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:48AM (#38481082)
      unless it's black... [wikipedia.org]
      • by tepples (727027)
        Why would anyone eat blood?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Because it goes well with eggs, sausage, bacon, and hash browns?

          I'm geussing you are unfamiliar with the traditional English breakfast.

        • by Kharny (239931) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @11:21AM (#38481928)

          Because it is yummy?

        • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @12:47PM (#38482572) Homepage
          Why would people eat animal's eggs or milk or flesh? I can't see how someone can think eating one part of the animal is acceptable by eating the blood is awful.
    • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:57AM (#38481112)

      Even better would be if the machine screamed "Stand still laddie" while it was trying to do the facial recognition :)

      • If the machine is going to meter pudding based on the metrics of the would-be buyer, then it should base its decision on the relative size of belly or bum to height (or some similar fat/slender axis), not on the size of the head.

        Of course, it would be better if the machine did not attempt to make any such decisions, as there are probably enough cases where the decision would be wrong (small adult, etc.). Lawsuits ahoy!

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by INT_QRK (1043164)
      But more seriously, am I the only one sick and f r e a k i n g tired of erstwhile do-gooders running around trying to enforce their superior judgements on everybody else? Even if I may agree with some of their good ideas, I don't want them to be coercively enforced on everyone unless there is a legitimate criminal, or real public safety aspect to them (and by real public safety I mean leading to imminent danger, not "may contribute to poor eating habits in some people"). Sheesh! This kind of crap makes my b
      • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @09:51AM (#38481306)
        According to TFA, it's not really about enforcing some sort of moral code. They developed this machine so that it only dispenses free marketing samples to their target demographic. I mean, from a really wide angle, I can sort of understand what they were thinking, but really? It all sounds like something that someone would shout out in a brainstorming meeting and everyone would get in a good chuckle and move on. Why not just pay someone minimum wage to dispense samples? It's a marketing gimmick, and it's a really stupid use of technology. I could also see it backfiring because it can't be 100% accurate. How insulted would you be if you stepped up to this machine and it identified you as a child? "NO PUDDING FOR YOU!" What if you had some sort of condition that caused your facial proportions to be childlike? What if there was a random software error? I can't believe they spent time, effort and money actually developing this.
        • by mysidia (191772) *
          "Awww" "Shaddup kid, and go get me some pudding from that machine over there, then maybe we'll talk about your allowance"
        • Exactly. If I were to be refused a product from a vending machine because the software thinks I'm not an adult... at the very least there would be some banging of buttons during the second try, maybe some kicking, perhaps even a broken camera. And I'm not even a violent person. That's simply the kind of thing that makes my blood boil, some machine making the wrong decision against the wishes of a human being, didn't anyone write a law about that?
      • by kdemetter (965669)

        Seriously : an article on banning PUDDING for children , on Christmas ? That's just evil.
        But i don't worry too much : children are very creative , and if they are told they can't have something, they will find a way around it.

        • well i would say that it is DOOMED from the get go

          Girls: Even if you were a DR House level Grump im sure 98% of girls could get any Man still breathing to do the buy

          Boys: If as a geekling you can social engineer somebody to do the buy for you then turn in your Geek Learners Permit NOW

    • by kdemetter (965669)

      I had the same thought immediately when reading the title.

  • by lewko (195646) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @07:57AM (#38480856) Homepage

    Now they just need vending machines that can detect little fat kids.

  • - No pudding for you! Come back one year. Next!

  • by theNetImp (190602) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:02AM (#38480874)

    So what about a person who has a growth problem and doesn't grow any bigger than the size of a 10yr old. This is a law suit waiting to happen.

    • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:06AM (#38480900)

      Even midgets have normal sized heads.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      They have had these machines in Japan for a few years and some adults couldn't use them. Kids quickly discovered that holding up a photo of an adult works well though.

    • I might be wrong but I don't think that most countries make it against the law for vending machines to contain bugs that prevent a sale.

      • by theNetImp (190602)

        In the US this would fall under handicap discrimination laws. They don't need a specific law. Everything must be accessible to people with disabilities.

        • But disabled people can get it in general, sure some of them will be turned away by a bug in the device, or because it is working perfectly and they are children.

      • If that bug can be seen as discrimination, then yes, there's a law against that in most countries. And since our country now has "anti-age discrimination" laws (which were actually aimed at not discriminating against older people), I could even see this being used here by some shyster. You have a product that is arguably not harmful to children being refused to be sold to children.

  • Easy hack. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackicye (760472) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:04AM (#38480884)

    The Japanese Cigarette vending machines with facial recognition were pulled, when they discovered that holding up a scale photo or magazine picture would pass the age check.

    • I could image that this would be quite amusing for bored kids . . . holding up: Halloween masks, a painted basketball, pumpkins, cabbage, iPads . . . etc.

      Hell, it would be even amusing for me . . .

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it's so easy to fool them, that it's stupid that anyone thought they could get away by using those machines.
      same goes for face scan log-in.
      at the minimum you need a 3d facial scan for the age check too, even then it would be pretty crappy(you'd just need a mask for the trick). though I'd have passed that test at maybe 14, so it would have been pretty sweet.. think of all that pudding.

      • In this case, the penalty for breach is low enough that it isn't worth the expense of high security. The worst that can happen would be someone stealing a few sample-sized puddings.
    • by nojayuk (567177)

      The oyaji (old guy) on a 5000 yen note would work on the cigarette machine face-recognition systems as well. They've switched to an ID card for cigarette vending machines; theory says only folks over 20 years old can get a card but that's as subject to abuse as you might expect.

      One neat thing is that the cigarette vending machines switch themselves off at about 11:00 at night, same for the beer and spirits vending machines.

      • Cigarette vending machines here require an ATM card, with the idea that you won't get one 'til you're at least 16 (which is the legal age for smoking over here). It works well enough, actually. Well enough that the thinkofthechildren crowd shuts up at least.

        And that's what counts.

  • 1. Put in a smart vending machine that can veto a purchase
    2. Accept a bribe from Pepsi to "accidentally" deny Coke purchases on occasion
    3. Profit!

  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:10AM (#38480922) Homepage

    Put a scale in front of it.
    Anyone over 100 Kilo will not be served :)

  • While good in theory, in practice they are about as open to abuse as diebold's voting machines.

    I simply do not trust that a machine with hidden logic will remain untainted, either from the touch of a hacker OR a corrupt programmer.

    Now counting to see how long it takes for one of these machines to be abused like DRM.

    • by metacell (523607)

      But unlike Diebold's voting machines, the worst thing that can happen from abuse is that the wrong people get free pudding...

      • by Noughmad (1044096)

        Which is pretty much the same as with voting machines, except the voting machines will deny the pudding to 99% of the people.

    • HAHA, I just pictured a granola bar wrapping itself back up when you try to pass the second half to a friend!
  • As the article actually states, the reason they're using this technology isn't because of some pudding shortage or the contents of the pudding. It's just that Jell-O is marketing the pudding to adults and they only want to sell it to their demographic. I'm sure this will go over well in the future, when companies decide that they only want white people to buy their products or that they don't want their vending machines selling anything to gingers.

    • by will_die (586523)
      They are not selling they are giving the product away.
    • by fafaforza (248976)

      Where do you get "white people" from? Jeez. Maybe the taste of the pudding is not liked by kids (like coffee or beer) and they don't want to forever alienate their potential customers at an early age. Inculcating future customers at a very early age is a well known way that companies build brand loyalty. Do you want to do that by teaching kids right off the bat to dislike Jell-O products?

      • Do you want to do that by teaching kids right off the bat to dislike Jell-O products?

        If I got to choose... yeah!

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:21AM (#38480962) Homepage Journal

    and every other technology outlet that covers the technology machine and every outlet concerned about health or childrens rights that covers this machine. Seriously could you imagine the amount of buzz/free advertising that would be generated by targeting only Men for example, and the number of women who would buy the product just to say "screw you I'll eat it anyways"?

    Jello may have just invented the advertising by exclusion business model.

  • But first they need to link any machine that dispenses meat type products to machines dispensing pudding. After all; you can have any pudding if you don't eat your meat.
  • I just send all my wishes to:
    Claus, Santa
    North Pole
    Postal Code: H0H0H0
    It's worked so far, he actually replies!
  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:44AM (#38481056)

    "judge the age of the individual based on the space between their eyes and ears." ...and the space between the 2 sides of their waist.

    "Step away, fatso, no pudding for you!

  • by fl!ptop (902193) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @08:44AM (#38481064) Journal

    There are some vending machine combos [flickr.com] that this makes sense for, but seriously - pudding?"

    I was not expecting to see whiskey, but this instead. [wordpress.com]

  • First they came for the pudding, and I didn't speak out because I was on a diet...

  • by pfafrich (647460) <rich.singsurf@org> on Saturday December 24, 2011 @09:06AM (#38481134) Homepage
    A while back I did some work looking at how people faces change with age for a medicinal application. One quite surprising thing is how little the distance between the eyes actually change, quite young children will have the the same distance as adults. On the other hand noses keep growing throughout life.
  • by jasonq (244142) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @09:16AM (#38481148)

    It's a gateway dessert.

  • by frisket (149522)
    WTF is a pudding dispensing vending machine FFS?
  • How much anyone want to bet its really for catching criminals AND to save the scans of our faces for further intrusive advertising somewhere down the road. Lets boycott the makers of Jello. Do they scan our faces as we walk by also?
  • by Truekaiser (724672) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @01:15PM (#38482820)

    DON'T buy it, if you want real chocolate pudding buy the kiddie marketed stuff. because it's just air fluffed normal pudding so you pay more for less.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @02:06PM (#38483242) Homepage

    It would be more useful to measure the BMI of the customer and block oinkers from buying.

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