Markets in everything, but not for everybody

by on November 14, 2007 at 10:48 am in Economics | Permalink

A cigarette vending machine that can tell adults from minors by
determining their approximate ages based on bone structure, wrinkles
and the way their skin sags went on sale Monday.

People wishing to buy cigarettes have to look at a facial
recognition camera in the upper section of the machine and press a
button. In about three seconds, the machine determines whether the
person is 20 years old–the legal age to buy cigarettes–or above. The
purchase will be allowed if the machine is satisfied.

Here is the full story.  But if you want to feel better about markets again, here are lots of strange toys, with photos.  The second page is even better.  #8 and #11 are, um…strange, even for Japan.

Peter November 14, 2007 at 11:38 am

As I understand it, until quite recently there were vending machines in Japan selling unwashed underpants that had been worn by schoolgirls.

odograph November 14, 2007 at 12:37 pm

And the bonus is, the more you smoke, the more it recognizes you (“bone structure, wrinkles and the way their skin sags”)

David November 14, 2007 at 1:28 pm

I was considering the same thing Ian was, that someone could hold up a photo of an older person. But there are ways the vending maching could detect that. If the machine projected, say, a grid in infrared light on the person’s face, or took shots from two angles, or even just took two pictures in a short time interval and saw whether there were any changes in expression etc., it would be possible for the camera to recognize whether the image was two dimensional.

Nanani November 14, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Well I live in Japan, I will have to keep an eye out and see if it works.
Note that the coworker sitting next to me thinks it won’t be all that accurate, but at least it might well keep 15 year olds from buying smokes. The just-barely-underage 18 and 19 yaer olds though, forget it.

tsstevensWCU1112 November 20, 2007 at 12:34 am

A) Where do you have to be 20 to buy cigarettes, ive only known it to be 18 years of age.

B) Ive seen cigarette vending machines before, and never used them, but is this the first one to attempt to verify age?

Other from those two notes i think its a great innovation. It brings a product in high demand closer to consumers, just like snack and coke machines have. Next i would like to see the beer dispensing machines find their way to US shores from Europe and Japan.

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花蓮租車資訊 August 8, 2009 at 1:17 am

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