Freeloading kids get their just desserts, high-tech style

A high-tech vending machine has been launched to prevent children from getting a jelly desert. But sadly the technology isn’t yet developed enough to actually work when age limits really count.

The iSample machine, created by Intel for Kraft, is being used to distribute free samples of a new jelly product. There isn’t any legal reason why kids can’t have it; instead Kraft just wants to market the product as more sophisticated than traditional jelly-based puddings.

The machine has cameras that scan anyone within a 25 foot radius and then estimates their age based on factors such as the distances between their ears, eyes, and nose. If a child is spotted in the area, the machine refuses to dispense the sample and instead displays a message saying “Sorry, Kid. You’re too young to appreciate indulgences like this. Please step away, so the grownups can get their free treat.”

Marketing aside I can see the logic of this: when I was a teenager, most kids would see a free sample machine like this as a way to either stuff their faces or get free ammo for a shopping mall food fight. But you do have to wonder how many parents will be prepared to shoo their child 25 feet away so they can get a free dessert, and whether parents who’d make that choice should be encouraged.

Intel is quick to defense itself against claims of creepiness. It says all processing is done on-board the machine, and that no images or video are permanently stored. However it is looking at expanding the technology to capture information such as how long people spend looking at the machine, or whether they smile after trying the dessert.

The main drawback is that the age recognition is nowhere near reliable enough to use for age-restricted products such as alcohol or tobacco.

8 Responses to Freeloading kids get their just desserts, high-tech style

  1. The person commenting about race is an idiot. I doubt they could be trusted with much, never mind a free jelly dessert

    In regards to the article, I might have absorbed it more if I wasn't so distracted by all the grammatical errors. I suck at grammar and even I would take more care in posting content to the public. Sloppy.

      • Really, why was that comment deleted? It was meant to make you morons do a little thinking and see how something like this could lead to some very fascist possibilities. Whomever deleted the post in a book or movie would be the one who worked as an accidental aid to Skynet or whatever dystopic evil you might have. I really think taking down that post is a very bad choice and a kind of fascist act.

  2. Hmmm so I guess that we just found our that you are Racist. Who else would take something that judges someone based on AGE and try to make a big deal about the RACE of someone. The color of the skin is because asian children have a different facial make-up then a caucasian child. Which means that their eyes, nose, ears and other identifiers for young age are different then in other races. Plus I would guess that since this is Intel we are talking about they are not only testing the age part of their software, the are probly testing out whether or not it can identify other characteristics of a person such as Race and Gender as well. Which would help in future applications of video identifying technology such as CCTV used by private businesses. Would it not be helpful if there was a software that when then alarm is triggered at a business it would also send a cursory description of the people in the immediate area?

  3. screw those idiots… one around here in Baltimore and people would place the kids out of range, empty the machine, then bring all the kids back in range and give them the Jello treats right in front of the cameras!…(and that's if the first "kid" didn't either hack or trash the machine!
    and the machine does not 'save' the scanned faces….yeah right…how else would the efficiency of the software be checked, calibrated and tested!

  4. Here's an idea… why don't they just put the dispense button higher up so kids can't reach it? Granted, this eliminates short people and handicapped people, and has no defense against tall kids, but still! Regardless, it sucks that they're removing that human element from samples…

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