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Prototype gumball machine dispenses mystery apps via NFC for a quarter

By Michelle Haag on 24 Jul 2012 06:49 pm EDT

I'm a sucker for a low-cost mystery, I admit it. Whether it's a mystery tee off one of those one-shirt-a-day sites or the Woot Bag o' Crap, it's really hard for me to pass up the potential awesomeness that could be delivered right to me. It's no wonder that I got super excited when I saw this intriguing invention using NFC from the folks at Razorfish.

Utilizing an old gumball machine, an NFC shield, a simple reed switch, and 2 Arduino microcontrollers, they made this prototype over a two day session at their Frankfurt office.

This is an NFC-enabled Gum Machine we have built at Razorfish that is packed with all sorts of digital goodies: Apps, movies, songs, ebooks, as well as other exclusive and location-based content that can be pushed to a phone. Simply enter a coin and turn the lever – then follow the animation and tap your smartphone next to the release chute.

That's right! Insert a quarter, get a mystery something delivered right to your phone! This concept seems like it would be fun, and with only a $.25 investment, even if you got something you didn't like it seems to me that the excitement and anticipation alone would be worth it. I'm curious if they could integrate Google Wallet or PayPal or something as well, for those of us that may not have change in our pockets. Obviously, it's just a prototype (tested on Android devices) so no word on what platforms it could eventually support. You can see several pictures of the prototype being built and find more information at the source link below.

Would you pay $.25 for a mystery download? Let us know in the comments or discuss it in the forums

Source: Razorfish 

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1191 (articles) 1683 (forum posts)


Okay, that is just cool.


Ok it is pretty cool lol :)


Not a chance. I won't install a FREE mystery app.

I don't install anything unless I know what it is and that it is reliable.


I think apps have jumped the shark here. Mystery apps for $.25 is pretty crazy! Usefulness level is about 0. Coolness level is about +1000000

/Device agnosticism or bust!


Ha! I don't know why I like this so much, but this is just pretty damn spiffy, I must say. Seeing as smartphones are becoming ever-so-present in every day life, I'm not surprised to see a cool little contraption like this. Every time I walk into a supermarket these days, i walk past a quarter-machine covered in dust, or sometimes I'll get a gumball that has probably been at the bottom of the pile since 1984 haha Kids these days look at anything with a knob or a button, or something you have to drop a quarter in to and walk right by it with the same thought I hear ringing in most youngster's minds "those are for babies" or "that's oooold" (something like that anyway). Technology is advancing at super-speeds, and its things like this that can be utilized to get our children familiar with it--by making it fun! Ha, I see myself even getting a little gitty like a school-boy wanting to try it out lol What will they think up next?!


I'd buy that for a quarter!!!!


But I really wanted a gum ball !


Garbage. I'll play lotto instead. At least I know I'll be disappointed


Gawd I love capitalism!!
This is a very neat idea and no doubt going to be a cash cow. I can see these little units popping up everywhere.


It's a metal disk that used to have buying power. The name comes from the fact that it was "one quarter" of a dollar.

A long, long time ago, there were things that could be purchased for under a dollar.


Actually... the name comes from the fact that a "dollar" or "pound", or any other currency was a gold or silver coin. The coin would be cut into pie slices to divide costs. The easiest way to cut, was to cut into 8 slices. Each slice was referred to as a "bit"... The term "two bits" was one quarter of the coin. Its not particularly germane to the "dollar".


not bad, so it is "literally" a quarter of a Dollar ;)

and a bit is a eighth of a Dollar.

like a bit to a byte ;)


This is a real new way for phishing attacks. Get a "mistery" app which will read all your contacts in the background.


what Facebook, whatsup etc pp already did...



I can't wait to see if they'll be offering apps for $.25 everywhere.


I really like this, very innovative and interesting. I would love to see this really happen and be available everywhere.