Twitter-activated vending machine offers iced tea for tweets

BOS vending machine Twitter

As detailed in Forbes this week, a beverage company called BOS has developed and launched a vending machine called BEV that dispenses iced tea canned drinks when a customer tweets a specific hashtag while standing in front of the machine. Located at Wembley Square in Cape Town, South Africa, the machine uses a red LED display at the top of the unit to display the hashtag #BOSTWEET4T. The display also shows the Twitter name of the person that tweets the hashtag and offers a countdown until the can of iced tea is dispensed. In order to attract customers to the unique vending machine, BOS has also programmed messages like “You look thirty, human. Let me help you.” and “Is BOS your cup of tea? BEV at your service.” on the display.

BEV tweet iced teaThe high-tech vending machine also comes equipped with a microphone, speaker and camera in addition to a colorful variety of LED lights that shine erratically when a can of iced tea is dispensed. The BOS customer can watch a small video screen on the unit that displays a feed from a camera inside the machine that appears to be attached to the arm that picks up the drink.

After the can falls to the bottom of the chute, the speaker in the machine plays a robotic voice telling the person to enjoy the beverage. There doesn’t appear to be much of a delay from the time that the tweet is placed and when the drink is dispensed from the machine. According to Forbes, the organic tea is made from a local plant called Rooibos that is used by South Africans to make tea. Similar to coffee, they add sugar and milk to the tea or use alternatives such as a slice of lemon or a dollop of honey for sweetness. 

Bos iced teaBOS has also built in technical safeguards that don’t pay attention to tweets that aren’t in the vicinity of the vending machine. Connected into the Twitter Streaming API, the hashtag acts as a filter and all tweets that contain the hashtag are pulled from the stream into BEV.

However, BEV also looks at the location data of the tweet and compares it to a predetermined boundary set by BOS. This means someone beyond a short distance from the machine won’t be able to activate BEV by simply adding the hashtag to their tweet. This also means the Twitter user has to add location data from their mobile device to the tweet.

For the moment, the South African PR agency running the promotion for BOS isn’t charging people for the iced tea drinks and is only requiring that someone has a Twitter account to get a free drink. Beyond this promotional period, the company could eventually partner with a social payments startup like Chirpify in order to collect money from each tweet. Chirpify connects a user’s PayPal account with their Twitter account in order to enable payments through tweeting. However, the company would likely have to pay Chirpify a percentage of each sale in order to use the service and collect money from micro-transactions at the vending machine.

Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Computing

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.