"I'd like to report a crime and, um, I'm thirsty!"
An innovative new soda vending machine from Coca-Cola Japan offers passersby much more than a refreshing cooler. An onboard emergency phone provides instant communication with local police while a top-mounted security camera records the street scene below.
Yes, it's the real thing! Coca-Cola Japan's pilot project in the central Japanese city of Toyohashi involves setting out radical new drink vending machines that address people's top two reactions to emergency situations: "I need the police!" and "I need a drink!"
The "Help Vending Machine" - which somewhat surprisingly does NOT have a smiling face - is a joint venture of Coca-Cola Japan and the Aichi prefecture police department. Here's how it works... the telephone in the machine's front door is no ordinary phone. Instead, it automatically dials the police emergency number (110 in Japan) when either the handset is picked up, the front door of the coke machine is opened, or if somebody pushes the button that turns on the flashing light on top of the otherwise standard beverage vending machine.
Just so there's no confusion, a warning buzzer goes off and the red light begins rotating anytime the out of the ordinary soda machine's door is opened. By this time, the video camera has begun recording, having been activated by a built-in motion sensor. Best of all, you can enjoy a refreshingly chilled Coca-Cola beverage while you wait for the squad car to arrive. Unless you've been mugged, that is.
The "Help Vending Machine" is located in the Iwata Athletic Park in Toyohashi, a smallish Japanese city located about 250 kilometers south of Nagoya... well, it WAS - just a couple of days after it made its debut, Coke's galvanized crime-fighter was vandalized by unknown hoodlums calling themselves the "Surveillance Society". That's what they painted onto the side of the coke vending machine.
Obviously peeved at the red & white robocop, the assailants cut the security camera's wiring and left the blinded cam hanging over the front of the now sad soda machine. Harsh!
I, for one, welcome our red robotic overlords - but the youth of Japan seemingly do not! (via Let's Japan and Mainichi Daily News)