‘acure’ digital vending machine, designed by fumie shibata for beverage company JR east water business all images © nacasa & partners



as installation of the high-tech ‘acure’ vending machines continues throughout tokyo, designboom follows up on the devices, designed by japanese industrial designer fumie shibata for japanese beverage company JR east water business. the digital vending machine features a 47-inch touchscreen display with a camera mounted at its top. sensory data is interpreted by an internal processor to recognize the sex and estimate the age of an individual who approaches the device, displaying recommendations based on this data. selecting a product brings up additional information about it prior to purchase, and after the sale, the screen displays a ‘thank you’ message. innovative for its use of targeted marketing through the visual analysis, ‘acure’ makes use of its ‘intelligent marketing’ system even when not in use by a customer, to display advertising imagery appropriate to the time of day, temperature, and season. for example, the product showcased shown on a cold morning might be a hot coffee, while on a sunny summer day, a glass of ice water or a soda with lime.

acure digital vending machine without visitors nearby, the machine displays either advertisements for drinks or a pair of curious eyes



now about six months into the projected installation plan, the company has calculated that their machines make approximately two times the number of sales of other vending machines at shinagawa station, where ‘acure’ was first installed. a range of demographic data reveals surprising purchasing trends, such as the fact that the most frequent users of the devices are men in their 30s, and that a disproportionately large number of juices were sold to men at night, as compared to other drinks throughout the day. based on their findings, JR east water has already made changes in the stock of the machines.

acure digital vending machine the devices are suica-compatible, working with tokyo’s rechargeable metro and debit card

acure digital vending machine a product being selected image courtesy of christopher johnson


one of the great advantages to a digital machine is that it is updatable in realtime. replacing stock is a precise process, as the machine relays its needs to its central server, which dispatches deliveries once a day, and any sold out products are not included in the display in the meantime. because multiple ‘acure’ machines can be centrally controlled, they can be used in emergency situations to provide free beverages. ‘acure’ is also suica-compatible, referring to the ability of metro system riders to use their transit system passes as debit cards.

acure digital vending machine full view of the first installed device in shinagawa station

acure digital vending machine detail view of an advertising screen



the first machine was installed in shinagawa station last august, and the company’s plans to install approximately 500 machines by march 2012 are already underway throughout tokyo.

acure digital vending machine installing the machine

acure digital vending machine installing the machine

acure digital vending machine installing the machine