Hacked Gumball Machine Now Serves Up Digital Downloads To Phones

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.

NFC Gumball Machine from Razorfish – Emerging Experiences on Vimeo.

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.

Anywho, you can check out more photos and details over on Razorfish’s website.

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