Vending machines that know what you want to drink before you do have recently been installed in Tokyo's Shinagawa station. The touch-screen machines, made by Acure, use facial recognition algorithms to match consumers' faces with a database of different facial types - while taking into account the weather - before suggesting maybe vitamin water for health-conscious women or a hot coffee for office workers.
Thousands of cigarette machines in Japan use technology that determines the age of the buyer, and refuses to allow the under 20s to buy cigarettes. The vending machines, created by Fujitaka, use sensory technology that is able to detect the age of the buyer based on the quality of their skin, wrinkles and bone structure - with a claimed success rate of 90 per cent.
New and relatively rare in Canada, QR codes are booming in Japan. Users simply scan their cellphone over the small black-and-white square of pixels found in the corner of an ad, billboard or magazine page in order to receive information such as menus, maps, discounts, cinema times directly on their cellphones.
Fancy playing a giant computer game in public? Veedia MobiActions consists of a giant digital public screen that passersby can control using their cellphones. When the screen was showcased in central Tokyo on the façade of a major electronics store, crowds gathered to join the live game.
Holographic technology, which recreates virtual 3-D reality, is currently in the pipelines, with Japanese scientists saying it could become a reality by 2016. If Japan wins its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, it has vowed to project all matches in a real time 3-D holographic broadcast to 208 countries around the world.
Special to The Globe and Mail