As AV professionals, we always have our eyes peeled for new and innovative technologies changing the industry.

Though kiosks have been around since the late 1970s, the kiosks of today are a far cry from those of yesterday. From interactive voice and touch to offering food, tickets, and so much more, we’re nearing a Jetsons-like reality more than I ever thought possible.

From providing necessary and pertinent information to plain old-fashioned fun, we have previously discussed the kiosks that piqued our interest.

However, there’s one country that consistently pushes the limits to produce futuristic kiosks that are actually integrated into mainstream society: Japan.


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Japan’s Coolest Kiosks

For years, Japan’s vending machines have served up a plethora of items that Americans would find unusual. And while the United States has a large number of machines, Japan has the highest per capita rate of vending machines in the world1. Annual sales stood at nearly 5 trillion yen ($45 billion) at the end of 2016, according to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association.

In the states, we generally find a soda-heavy offering in kiosks. Yet, Japan has us beat on ingenuity. The move towards the “smart vending machine” is on its way.


Facial Recognition

One Japanese company has created a kiosk that uses facial-recognition software to determine a customer’s age and gender and then recommends specific drinks for that customer based on market research. Should you consume less calories or caffeine? Do you likely prefer tea? These kiosks will tell you.



If you prefer to make your own choices, you can certainly select healthy options from these machines, such as bananas. Or, treat yourself to a warm hamburger, donuts, eggs, live crabs, corn soup—the options are abundant.


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If you thought vending machines were just for food, think again. What’s the most absurd thing you can imagine in a kiosk? We’ve stumbled across kiosks that carry: umbrellas, socks, shirts, floral arrangements, toys, books, batteries—you name it.

With a plethora of items available, the number of vending machines installed, and new smart technologies becoming more frequently used, there’s much to watch in this space, particularly in Japan.



If you could create a custom kiosk that could do anything you desire, what would it do?




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