08 Aug 2017/Alin/ Technology, Python, Javascript, Raspberry Pi


Vending machines have become common components of our environment. We all know how to use them, money in exchange for one of the available beverages. But what if we would change that and replace money with "intelligence" instead? This was the premise of our project.


An integrated smart solution ( hardware and software) for an experiential marketing campaign for Handsome Advertising and VOX Technology Park.

What we needed:

  • a coffee vending machine
  • Raspberry PI 3 Model B
  • a 7'' touch display
  • microSD card with Flask server

How we did it:

First, we connected the display with the Raspberry, then we used the GPIO 18 port to switch on and off a LED via a breadboard circuit. The purpose of this was to test the electric impulse from the Raspberry and the possibility to turn it on and off programmatically.

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We used the Chromium browser to run at system start-up, because we used it as the main interface for our software. Being a browser based application, we created it using HTML, CSS and Javascript, and for the server side we used Python.

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Users had to choose between two types of games, reaction speed or logic. After completing any of these games, we used the previously mentioned electric pulse to simulate the insertion of credit into the vending machine. Based on this credit, users can choose one of the coffee types. Regardless of the result, there is a wait time after a game was played, and after that the software reloads the start screen. In case of success, there are further instructions for choosing the coffee type and the amount of sugar.

The vending machine went through a redesign, replacing its usual look with a more modern one. The touch-screen display, which also the main interaction point between users and software, was placed so it can be easily seen and used. 

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The vending machine was free to use in Timisoara, in Unirii Square, during a two days event. 977 people took the test, while 686 of them successfully paid for coffee with their intelligence.