There are around 5.5 million vending machine in Japan selling everything from soda to socks. The problem is when the power goes out this vast network of machines become useless. Now the worries are over as a company has come up with a vending machine that operates by hand cranking.
The Japanese tsunami disaster highlighted the issue with the high-tech vending machines very clearly. The products were there, but in the emergency setting with no power they were useless. Japanese vending machine firm Sandos has created a solution that works like a hand-cranked radio or flashlight — simply add your coins and crank the machine approximately 70 times to generate the power to release your product.
The new vending machines seem to be purpose-built for emergency situations. As the video shows, the demo has the machine releasing water bottles. It doesn't seem likely that people would be willing to crank a machine for everyday items — in fact they had to speed up the demo video so we wouldn't be bored.
Never mind the fact you'd still have to find some change if a disaster happened. The basic idea of trying to make key items more accessible in case of emergency is comforting.
No doubt the country that loves vending machines is already thinking about ways to improve on this first version.