Pop in a quarter, turn the crank, and you’re downloading a tune, a film, or an ebook. And, it’s being served up from a gumball machine? Just last week we heard that the telcos in NYC are turning old telephones into free Wi-Fi access points. This time it’s a gumball machine that’s been hacked to deal digital wares instead of chewy bubblegum.
The NFC-enabled bubble gum machine (I wish it still gave out bubblegum too) was built with a simple reed switch and two Arduino microcontrollers.
I love the mixture of old and new technologies (like yesterday’s iPad music box). It’s pretty neat that people a lot smarter than I can take a relic from the past, modernize it, and re-use it to solve a problem from today. While these machines aren’t all that useful for multimedia, I could certainly see this kind of thing happening with bus or other transit tickets — pop in a dollar, get a digital ticket.
The system requires an NFC-capable device, and currently the iPhone doesn’t fit that bill. Rumor has it the next iPhone will include the technology in some capacity.