AAEON Releases an Intelligent Vending Machine Development Kit based on UP Board

UP board is a low cost development board powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor with 1GB to 4GB RAM, and 16 to 64GB eMMC flash that mostly follows Raspberry Pi 3 form factor.

AAEON is now offering an “intelligent vending development kit” featuring UP board together with a vending machine controller (VMC) board, a motor for the machine’s internal mechanisms, a camera, a QR Code device, and all the necessary cables, as well as optional WiFi and Bluetooth modules.

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Some details about AIOT-MSSP01 Mini SSP Vending control board:

  • “Intel Intelligent Vending Based”
  • Motor Control – 24V or 12V, Supports GPIO, DC, PWM Type, Supports up to 160 DC Motors
  • Support LCD and Keypad Feature
  • I/Os
    • Vending machine specific interfaces / standards
      • 1x MDB (MultiDrop Bus)
      • 1x DEX (Digital EXchange)
      • 1x Protocol A (EXE)
    • 1x 1-WIRE
    • 4-channel ADC x 1
    • 4-channel Relay GPIO for 12V & 5V by switch x 1
    • 2x 16 Bit GPIO
    • 1x 8 Bit 24V GPI
    • 1x 24V Analog voltage sense
  • Power Supply – 24V AC @ 50Hz, 24V DC
  • Dimensions – 150 mm x 140 mm
VMC Board

Vending machine used to be mostly  dumb devices, you paid with cash (note or coins), selected the product, which then drops, together with your eventual change.

It works just fine and does so anonymously as long as you use cash, but sales & marketing types always want to know more, and the AAEON kit allows them to gather information about items sold and customers’ details using artificial intelligence as described by the company:

As a customer approaches the vending machine, an image of their face is captured and their age range, gender and mood are detected. Based on the results, a particular set of products are recommended. Crucially, the process happens almost instantaneously, so there’s no risk of the customer being inconvenienced.

In theory, I guess it would be possible to detect if somebody is a repeat customer by using face detection and assigning a customer ID to the face. If electronic means of payment are used, it may even be possible to get the name of the customer and map his purchase habit even if he uses different vending machines. I don’t know if the system does that however.

There are two versions of the kit. One with Microsoft Azure and Power BI services, and one without. The services allows to store information about every product sold and the gender, age range and mood of each buyer in Azure Cloud, and analyze the data with Power BI’s data analytics tools (60-day free trial with the kit).

The kits are available now, but without public pricing, so I’ve been told interested parties should contact an AAEON sales representative. More details can be found on AAEON’s Intelligent Vending Machine product page, the dedicated “Brainy website“, and the VMC board’s page.

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nobitakun

I hope this machine runs Unix/Linux, otherwise I prefer it to be analogic. The world is going to be unsafe if someday everything is windows builtin. I’m really afraid…