Foot-operated vending machines

From providing a quick caffeine fix to hot cans of soup to warm oneself up on a chilly day, vending machines are undoubtedly the mainstay of everyday life in Japan. Which is why most gave little thought to hitting the button to get the drink they want – until the pandemic struck. 

To help consumers minimise contact with surfaces during these times as much as possible, beverage company DyDo has started experimenting with foot-operated vending machines.

Foot-operated vending machines may be available in Japan soon

Foot-operated vending machines - dydo vending machine
Image adapted from:

DyDo, one of Japan’s biggest beverage and vending machine purveyors, is planning to release a vending machine that will allow consumers to purchase drinks without using their hands. 

According to DyDo, their decision to experiment with such vending machines was motivated by heightened public health awareness in recent times. Consumers are understandably cautious of touching contaminated surfaces. By introducing foot-operated vending machines, the company hopes to ease minds and change public perception on the machines’ safety.

Purchase drinks while minimising contact

Foot-operated vending machines - foot buttons to select item to purchase
A foot panel with buttons corresponding to the ones on the display 
Image adapted from: DyDo GROUP HOLDINGS, INC

To purchase a drink, you don’t have to touch a single button with your fingers. Instead, use your foot to navigate the button panel attached to the bottom of the machine. Select and tap the button that corresponds to the product number on the display of the vending machine. 

Foot-operated vending machines - pedal which allows flap to be lifted
Foot pedal at the bottom right corner helps to lift flap
Image adapted from: DyDo GROUP HOLDINGS, INC

You don’t have to touch the machine when retrieving your drink, either. Step on the pedal located at the bottom right of the vending machine and the flap will open. You’ll be able to reach in to collect your drink while minimising contact with the machine as much as possible.  

Currently, the prototype is having a trial run at the Tokyo headquarters of DyDo. If everything goes smoothly, it will be the first of its kind in a country that is already saturated with millions of vending machines.

Previous smart vending machines released by DyDo

Foot-operated vending machines - dydo vending machine loans umbrella
Image credit: @traveljpapp

With over 280,000 DyDo vending machines scattered across Japan, it is no surprise that the company has tried their hand at jazzing up some of their existing machines. In the past, DyDo has come up with vending machines that will lend you an umbrella on a rainy day

Foot-operated vending machines - masks and disinfecting wipes stocked in vending machines
Image adapted from: DyDo GROUP HOLDINGS, INC

DyDo also has ones that sell masks and disinfecting wipes. 3000 vending machine units nationwide will be stocked with masks and wipes from the end of October onwards. 

Foot-operated vending machines - facial recognition vending machines
Image adapted from: DyDo GROUP HOLDINGS, INC

Recently, they have started experimenting with contactless vending machines that allow purchases using facial recognition. After creating an account and uploading a picture of their face on an app, customers can scan their face to purchase items instead of fumbling around for coins and prepaid cards.

Foot-operated vending machines available soon

As DyDo is still conducting a trial-run, there are no concrete dates as to when the foot-operated vending machines will be released to the public. However, given the company’s track record of rolling out innovative vending machines, it shouldn’t be long before we see them popping up on the streets in Japan. 

Check out these articles for more interesting Japan-related news: 

Cover image adapted from: DyDo GROUP HOLDINGS, INC and DyDo GROUP HOLDINGS, INC

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